Abuja- In a press conference held to mark his first 100 days in office, Acting Comptroller General Bashir Adewale outlined the transformative vision and significant achievements of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) under his leadership. The press conference, held at the Customs headquarters, shed light on the NCS’s commitment to consolidation, collaboration, and innovative solutions, resulting in a substantial boost in revenue collection and effective measures to combat smuggling.
Adewale began his address by expressing gratitude for the unwavering support received since assuming office on June 19, 2023. Embracing Mahatma Gandhi’s principle of being the change one wishes to see in the world, Adewale celebrated the NCS’s tangible strides towards building a more efficient, collaborative, and innovative organization.
The Acting Comptroller General emphasized the pivotal role of customs in facilitating international trade and economic growth. He commended the dedication of NCS officers across the nation, citing a personal experience during a visit to a border post where officers worked tirelessly to ensure the smooth flow of goods and safeguard borders.
The vision outlined by Adewale is rooted in the principles of consolidation, collaboration, and innovative solutions. The policy thrust, he explained, seeks to build upon positive legacies, foster collaboration with stakeholders, and introduce innovative approaches to address challenges. This vision aligns with the broader goal of the NCS to become the most efficient and service-driven government organ, with a relentless focus on revenue growth and border security.
One of the remarkable achievements highlighted by Adewale is the impressive increase in monthly revenue collection. The NCS witnessed a significant surge, with an average monthly collection of 202 billion Naira in the first half of the year, soaring to an impressive 343 billion in the past two months (July and August). This 70.13% increase in revenue collection surpasses the monthly target of 307 billion naira, showcasing a departure from previous performances.
The Acting Comptroller General also emphasized the NCS’s commitment to combating smuggling, with 1,763 seizures valued at 11.9 billion Naira in duty-paid value. Notable successes include the interception of arms, ammunition, illicit drugs, substandard pharmaceuticals, and other prohibited goods, underscoring the agency’s dedication to safeguarding communities.
Adewale highlighted the importance of collaboration, transparency, and innovation in achieving these milestones. The NCS has forged stronger alliances and initiated measures such as an MOU to combat vehicle smuggling. The integration of data analytics into customs processes and the dedication of an export terminal to promote exports are among the innovative solutions being introduced.
Despite early successes, Adewale acknowledged challenges such as resistance to change, bureaucratic bottlenecks, and the persistent issue of smuggling. However, he assured stakeholders that these challenges are not insurmountable and that the NCS is committed to proactively addressing them.
The Acting Comptroller General concluded his address by outlining future initiatives, including a focus on transparency, investment in cutting-edge technologies, data analytics, stakeholder engagement, and capacity building for officers. Adewale expressed confidence in the NCS’s collective resolve to shape a brighter future by breaking new ground, overcoming challenges, and setting higher standards of excellence.
As the NCS looks ahead with optimism and determination, Acting Comptroller General Bashir Adewale’s leadership has set the stage for a revitalized and forward-thinking Nigeria Customs Service.