The Controller General (CG) of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) Dikko Inde Abdullahi has denied allegations of criticizing the plan by the Federal Government to pay a monthly stipend of N5,000 to unemployed Nigerian youths and insinuations that he kicked against the removal of printed textile materials from the input prohibition list during the forum between Nigeria Customs Service and Textile Value Chain Stakeholders levied against him in a story published in This Day Newspaper on the 7th June 2015.
The Comptroller-General was quoted out of context and grossly misrepresented hence the need to make clarification in the interest of those who may have been misinformed. The CGC never criticised the proposed stipend payment as recently announced by His Excellency, the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo. As a loyal Public Servant of proven experience, he could never have criticised an idea that seeks to bring welcome relief to the teeming unemployed youths in this country. Contrary to what was reported, the Comptroller General welcomed the idea as a medium term strategy with the ultimate goal of encouraging our youth to embrace the production sector.
While proffering options to revamp the ailing textile industry, he lamented the neglect of agriculture, especially cotton production which used to create huge employment for the youths. He said, revival of the agriculture and manufacturing sectors is the long-term solution to unemployment. He however expressed full support for interim palliative proposal of stipends payment because people have to remain alive before they can enjoy the fruits of long- term economic policies.
On the issue of removal of printed textile materials from the prohibition list, he confirmed the receipt of a circular to that effect from the Ministry of Finance. He however said that the Nigeria Customs Service as a member of the Tariff Technical Committee was not part of the Policy review process. Nevertheless, in line with the usual practice of offering input to fiscal policies, the CGC promised to engage with the relevant authorities to enrich the new policy.
According to statement made available to the media by Wale Adeniyi (Public Relations Officer, NCS), “the CGC remains committed to the course of nation building in the discharge of his functions and would not be distracted by this kind of misrepresentation”.