The federal government said on Tuesday it was considering a performance-based pay structure for the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) to motivate its personnel towards improved revenue collection and reduced corruption.
The Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, who gave the hint, said a review of the constraints currently impacting NCS’ performance had been concluded.
She said the review had found that lack of modern equipment, inappropriate waivers and poor remuneration were top of the issues affecting the effective performance by the service.
Mrs. Adeosun disclosed that a consulting firm hired by the government 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 government objectives.
The minister was speaking at a Senate hearing to review revenue projections in the 2016 Budget held in Abuja on Tuesday.
“Appropriate remuneration of revenue collecting agencies to align the interests of staff with maximising revenue collections is critical to motivate performance and to reduce the temptation to compromise,” the minister explained.
Such a structure, she pointed out, was already in existence and working well at the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and needed to be extended to Customs Service.
The minister noted that Nigeria being an import-dependent nation still had room for improvement in revenue generation from the country’s ports.
She identified a disconnect between the volume of imports and recorded revenues from the NCS, and assured that this would be addressed by the new strategy being deployed by government.
Mrs. Adeosun expressed commitment to the provision of modern equipment needed to minimise discretion in customs’ assessments processes to enhance revenue yield.
The comptroller-general of the Nigerian Customs, Hammed Ali, said the authorities were looking into areas government could improve the performance of the NCS through the deployment of technology solutions, training, upgrade of the agency’s infrastructure and improved welfare for the personnel.
The executive chairman of the FIRS, Tunde Fowler, who also appeared at the hearing, stated that the management of the FIRS had moved the achievement threshold for its performance related pay structure from 60 to 80 per cent.
The implication of this arrangement, according to Mr. Fowler, was that staff 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.