Katsina — President Goodluck Jonathan has urged the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to correct "the lingering perception of corruption and fraud" in the service.
Speaking during the 2012 Annual Comptroller General of Customs Conference in Katsina yesterday, Jonathan said the monthly revenue generation of the service had tripled from N30 billion to N100 billion.
The president, who was represented by Vice President Namadi Sambo, said the ongoing reforms in the service had brought about "greater efficiency" but more needed to be done on corruption and fraud.
The president also urged the service not to relent in its laudable role of facilitating trade, border protection and security of the nation, saying the Federal Government appreciated the efforts of the service in preventing the proliferation of small and light weapons in Nigeria and pledged that the government would continue to give the required support to check the activities of those involved in the illicit trade.
Jonathan called for increased collaboration between the service and other customs bodies across the world in the fight against "persistent smuggling and criminal activities" at entry ports.
Earlier in his welcome address, Comptroller-General of Customs Alhaji Abdullahi Dikko assured stakeholders that the Nigeria Customs was ready to assume all functions of the service providers contracted by the government to provide scanning and risk management support under the DIR.
"The bold decision by government to return to the service, its statutory responsibilities, is a function of the confidence Mr President has both in the leadership and capabilities of the service", he said.
He said the present management had enhanced the remuneration of an average officer and had sustained a moral rebirth to enhance fiscal discipline and integrity, saying the service, under his watch, had consolidated on service delivery by developing an indigenous database cargo clearance system known as Nigeria Integrated Customs Information System.
Also speaking, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar said the issue of officers killed in the line of duty as a result of insurgency in some parts of the country should be looked at and urged the conference to address this and also the public perception of the service and professionalism.
Atiku, a former customs officer, said that although the public associated the service with corruption, "I cannot reconcile why retried officers happen to be the poorest after they leave the service".