The Federal Government is projecting to improve the salaries of officers and men of the Nigeria Customs Service to encourage them in the bid to raise the level of revenue generation for the nation.
The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, revealed this at a Senate hearing on the review of projected revenue in the 2016 budget in Abuja. She said that the government was working on the introducing of performance-related payments for the Customs to ensure they are well motivated and guarantee improved revenue collection as well as reduced corruption.
The minister explained in a statement by her Special Adviser on Media, Mr. Festus Akanbi, that a review of the constraints currently impacting the performance of the NCS had been undertaken.
“This exercise found that the provision of modern equipment, elimination of inappropriate waivers and remuneration emerged as issues,” she stated.
She said that a consulting firm had been hired and was working with the NCS to develop and implement a performance-based incentive plan to ensure that there was an alignment of interest between individual Customs officers and the objectives of the government.
“Appropriate remuneration of revenue collecting agencies to align the interests of staff with maximising collections is critical to motivate performance and to reduce the temptation to compromise,” Adeosun said.
She told Senators that such a structure already existed in the Federal Inland Revenue Service and was working well, and needed to be extended to the Customs.
The minister also highlighted that being an import-dependent nation, there was room for improvement in revenue generation from the country’s ports.
She stated that there was disconnect between the volume of imports and the recorded revenues from the NCS, which would be addressed by the new strategy being deployed, and expressed commitment to the provision of all modern equipment needed to minimise discretion in Customs assessment, thus enhancing revenue.
Corroborating the minister’s position, the Comptroller-General of Customs, Col. Hammed Ali (retd.) said the authorities were looking into areas of improving the performance of the NCS through deployment of technology solutions, training, upgrading of the agency’s infrastructure and improved welfare for the officers and men.
During the hearing, the Executive Chairman, FIRS, Mr. Tunde Fowler, stated that the management of the agency had moved the achievement threshold for its performance-related pay from 60 per cent to 80 per cent.
According to Mr. Tunde, the implication is that workers would only be entitled to benefit from performance incentives if at least 80 per cent of the agency’s revenue target for the year was achieved.