ABUJA: Officers of the Nigeria Customs Service should be looking forward to improved remuneration which is already being planned by the Federal Government. Government has initiated plans to increase the earnings of the officers as part of several steps towards motivating them to raise the level of revenue generation.
The Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun has disclosed that government will introduce performance-related pay for the NCS towards ensuring that motivation levels are raised, which should translate to improved revenue collection and less corruption.
“Appropriate remuneration of revenue collecting agencies to align the interests of staff with maximizing collections is critical to motivate performance and reduce the temptation to compromise, ” the minister said. Since such a structure already exists in the Federal Inland revenue Service, leading to better performance, the Minister proposed same for the NCS. She hinged this on the fact that Nigeria being an import dependent nation should make all efforts to boost revenue generated from the ports across the country.
The minister explained that the step is necessary considering the review of factors limiting the performance of the NCS recently undertaken. The exercise found that the provision of modern equipment, elimination of inappropriate waivers and remuneration emerged as issues that must be addressed. Consequently, a consulting firm is now involved, working with the NCS towards the development and implementation of a performance-based incentive model to ensure that there is a fusion of interest between individual Customs Officers and the objectives and projections of government.
There has been a disconnect between the volume of imports and the recorded revenue figures from the NCS, which the new strategy to be deployed hopes to address. The Minister believes that with additional incentives of provision of modern equipment to minimize discretion in customs assessment, revenue levels should equally move up.
The Comptroller General of Customs, Hammed Ali says the authorities are taking steps towards 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.
According to the Executive Chairman of FIRS, Tunde Fowler, the management of the agency had moved the achievement threshold for its performance-related pay from 60 per cent to 80 per cent. What this implies 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.