By Ubon Akpan
The new leadership of the Tin Can Area Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) is clearly blazing a new trail in information management and media relations.
Indications to this effect emerged recently when the newly appointed Command Area boss, Comptroller Musa A. B. met with the entire maritime press corps to announce his arrival, familiarize himself with maritime journalists, unfold his management agenda and point new directions, a clear departure from existing discriminatory media management practice in the maritime sector.
Remarkably, in that meeting, he acknowledged the critical role of the media which he said has “over the years proven to be a critical segment” of the global economy and which has played critical roles in national development.
Comptroller Musa further acknowledged the cooperation that existed between the media and his predecessor which he said “ultimately gave him the needed impetus to excel, through your very constructive, professional and investigative reportage of our activities.”
It is on that basis, he said, that shortly after his resumption, he had sought to meet with the entire maritime press to seek ways of strengthening the existing relationship between the Service, the Command and the media and to seek their support and cooperation.
He then unfolded his agenda to include trade facilitation, revenue collection, dispute resolution, national security and capacity building.
While these are regular platforms on which the Nigeria Customs run, Comptroller Musa indicated the he will bring new imperatives and initiatives to bear in the execution of these core assignments pointing out that it will no longer be business as usual.
For instance, the Controller disclosed that the command has deployed the ‘Time Release Studies as performance indicator to guide our performance.”
He however acknowledged other indices that will contribute to the achievement of greater levels of efficiency to include transportation efficiency and efficient infrastructure, both factors which are beyond the control of the service and command.
In spite of these, he said the command is deploying a software to establish and ensure the efficiency of the remaining part of the export procedures as well as ensure the availability of record of none oil exports including agriculture and others
To achieve greater efficiency and smooth operation, Comptroller Musa unfolded plans to expedite conflict resolution between the command and stakeholders directing that henceforth the Command’s Conflict Resolution Committee which used to sit twice weekly should now hold daily.
He said the Command has also re-engineered its help desk, domiciling it at the office of its Public Relations Officer to make it more responsive and efficient.
The Command, he disclosed is poised more than ever before to block all revenue leakages in order to collect appropriate duties and meet revenue collection target set at N354 billion for the year 2018.
So far, the Command has already collected a revenue of N62 billion between January and February of this year, he said and promised an upgrade of NICIS I with more efficient and functional capabilities to enable quick cargo clearance and reduce transaction cost.
To attain this target, Comptroller Musa said some stakeholders and Customs officers are presently undergoing requisite training on ease of implementation and migration.
The Command which made remarkable seizures of illegally imported fire arms and illicit drugs further promised to tighten its control and vigilance to ensure that national security is not compromised.
Industry watchers indicated that Comptroller Musa’s trail blazing gesture ought to send strong signals to other chief executive officers and media managers in the maritime sector on the need to work with a united maritime press in their quest to build virile communication structures for their establishments.