By Ifeyinwa Obi
COORDINATING Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has commended the Nigeria Customs Service after a meeting of the board of the NCS in Abuja on Monday. She said that in a few months the Service would take full charge of all its responsibilities.
She said: “I think from what I hear that it’s going relatively ok, it’s not easy. I don’t think there’s any organisation that goes through a transition period without some pains. I think the Customs is handling itself fairly well and I count on the CG to ensure a smooth transition. And it’s only a couple more months, two three more months and Customs is in charge. So I am sure that everybody is gearing up.”
Media reports had claimed that the outsourcing of destination inspection was a sore point in relations between the minister and the CG.
Dismissing speculations over a possible postponement of the planned handover of Destination Inspection to the Nigeria Customs Service, the minister said she did not waste her time on propaganda.
She said:“I don’t spend my time on that. If you open the newspapers, everyday there are articles saying finance is doing this, they are blocking that trying to postpone and all kind of false stories, I am not focused on that, I don’t work that way. I just do my job and when the time comes the evidence will show for itself.”
Commenting on the revenue drive of the organization, Okonjo-Iweala said, “We are really looking forward to everybody being charged up to take care of this revenue issue so that we can be on the upswing again. So the CG is going to be working on it full time.”
Other stakeholders have also commended the reforms carried out under the watch of Dikko. They maintained that considering the current programmes initiated by the Dikko-led administration, continuity of leadership was crucial to the successful completion of a number of the projects.
National president of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Prince Olayiwola Shittu, said, “Dikko has done what others didn’t do; that has earned him more enemies than friends. I will advise that government gives him more time to see the digitalisation of Customs processes and international trade to a reasonable conclusion.”