If you’ve had to import or export items, it is very likely that you’d have had some contact with the Nigerian Customs officers.
However, there’s much more to the Nigerian Customs than just importation and exportation. The agency is involved in a wide range of activities and it’s quite an interesting place to work.
In this post, you’ll learn about the NCS, its history, responsibilities as well as the salary you should expect if you’re recruited to work with them.
History of the Nigeria Customs Service
The NCS can be traced to as far back as 1891. The first ever Director General of Customs was Mr T.A Walls who was appointed that same year.
Over the years, the NCS has evolved to become an important paramilitary organization. In 1922, it was initially named the Department of Customs and Excise. But by the end of 1945, the Department had been divided into two divisions. This happened under the leadership of Mr. Nicol – a Briton and the two divisions were the Maritime and Preventive Services.
The Maritime Division was in charge of the collection of import and excise duties and other related functions while the Preventive Division was responsible for enforcement duties which included prevention of smuggling as well as arrest and prosecution of smugglers.
In 1958, the Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA) No. 55 was promulgated as a result, the affairs of the Department was brought under the management of a Board. It was the Chairman of this Board of Customs and Excise that became the Chief Executive Officer of the Department.
Another decree was enacted in 1970 which granted additional powers to the Board leading to additional members being included on the Board. The additional members were representatives of the Federal Ministries of Economic Development and Reconstruction, Trade and Industries.
Initially, the Department was operating as two parallel services, which were the Revenue (Technical) and Preventive (Enforcement). However, this method of running the two services created serious conflicts and administrative problems which led to the overall efficiency and attitude of officers. And this greatly impacted the image of the Department.
In 1977, the Department of Customs and Excise was reorganized and this led to the unification of the Technical and Preventive Services into one integrated service. This allowed the officers to serve in any of the two without hindrance and this led to the formation of the following directorates:
- Customs Tariff and Trade;
- Customs Enforcement Directorate;
- Customs Investigation Directorate
- Customs Inspection Directorate and
- Customs Economic relations, Research; and Planning Directorate
These directorates were to be headed by a Deputy Director while the overall head was the Director, Department of Customs and Excise and Chairman, Board of Customs and Excise.
In 1985, the Department of Customs was removed from the Federal Ministry of Finance to Internal Affairs which led to the creation of the Customs, Immigration and Prisons Services Board based on the promulgation of Decree No. 14 of 11th January 1986.
This led to the abolishment of the Board of Customs and Excise as the new Board took over. The Minister of the Federal Ministry of Internal affairs became the Chairman of the CIPB with the Director of Customs and his counterparts in immigration and Prisons Departments were members of the Board.
However in 1992, the Department of Customs and Excise was returned to the Federal Ministry of Finance in addition to its status as a para-military organisation.
Currently, the departments under the custom include:
- Finance, Administration and Technical Services.
- Tarrif and Trade.
- Excise and industrial incentives.
- Enforcement and drugs.
- Economic Relating Research and planning.
- Investigation and Inspection
Additionally, the 6 zonal administrative structures were retained. However in 2003, the Federal Government of Nigeria set up a Reform Committee headed by the Honourable Minister of State for finance, Mrs. Nenadi Esther Usman to look into the activities of the NCS.
This led to the restructuring of the service into 3 departments, each headed by a Deputy Comptroller- General.
- Corporate Service & Economic Relations,
- Tariff and Trade, and
- Enforcement, Investigation and Inspection
Also, the economic justification for the 6 zonal structures couldn’t be defended and this led to its replacement with 4 zones and 25 area commands
When the NCS was initially established, its primary responsibilities were revenue collection, accounting and smuggling activities.
Responsibilities of the Nigeria Customs Service
Over the years, the Nigeria Customs Service has added extra responsibilities to its portfolio but it still maintains a pivotal position as the hub of international supply chain of goods and services.
Currently, the NCS juggles the process of ensuring improvements in speedy delivery of services, while maintaining systematic and effective intervention controls, necessary to meet the demands of the complex and growing international trade.
As a result of its involvement in international trade, the NCS often has to tackle certain challenges, some of which include economic crime, money laundering, menace of terrorism, threatening weapons of mass destruction, violation of intellectual property rights, and dumping of toxic and hazardous substances.
Overall, some of the objectives of the NCS have been highlighted below:
- Serving as the steward of the nation’s trade and border management by facilitating legitimate trade in the global environment.
- Serving as a model administration providing effective and efficient service in an excellent manner.
- Working as a modern, compact and dynamic service by influencing policy and contributing to the development of the nation.
- Acting as the vanguard of the Customs best practices and international standards.
Nigeria Customs Salary Scale
Currently the average salary of an NCS officer is estimated at N900,000 per annum which translates to N75000 per month.
Typically, the lowest ranked officer which is the Customs Inspector earns N29,779 per month but this could be higher if the additional N4,000 rent subsidy is included. This is applicable if the officer is not provided with housing or accomodation by the Federal Government.
Additionally, the NCS often gives bonuses to officers and this makes the job particularly attractive to many both within and outside the agency.
The Nigeria Customs Service, some years ago, announced a broad increase in the take-home pay for all cadres of Customs officers and men in line with the increase in salaries for public servants that were approved by the Federal Government of Nigeria and this had been since 2007.
The new salary structure is referred to as the Consolidated Para-military Salary Structure (CONPASS). This new salary structure provides a broad increase in basic salary and a range of allowances for Para-military personnel.
The increment was implemented by the Federal Government since the Nigerian Custom Services is able to meet up to its annual financial expectations of the Federal Government.
The basic salary is also included with some allowances. The items consolidated with the basic salary are transport allowance and meal subsidy. Other allowances consolidated in it also include the following:
- Utility allowance
- Hazards allowance
- House maintenance allowance
- Uniform maintenance allowance G
- General Services allowance
- Torchlight allowance
- Detective allowance.
- Hardiness allowance
- Plain-Cloth allowance
- Furniture allowance
- Personal Servant
It must be noted, however, that not all members of staff can benefit from the allowances. Some of the allowances are only given to specific members of staff of the Nigerian custom services since not all of them are involved in the tasks and duties that attract some of those allowances. In the same vein, there are some allowances that all members of staff are entitled to.
However Rent Allowance has not been consolidated with the rest of the emoluments as it payable only to officers not provided accommodation at Government expense. This means the government is responsible for providing accommodation for some of the men and officers of the Nigerian Customs Services. Those to whom accommodation is not provided are encouraged to seek for accommodation elsewhere, but the government will include their accommodation allowances as part of their take-home pay. It must also be noted that the amount received as accommodation allowance differs from one cadre to another.
Expectedly, the top cadres will receive more on accommodation allowance, while the lower cadres will receive less according to their qualifications.
Under the new structure brought forward by the federal government, the least paid Customs Inspector will earn a total salary of N29,779 per month. He could earn an additional N4,740 as Rent subsidy if he does not occupy Government Quarters. Other allowances specific for his post as Customs Inspector are also included in the amount mentioned.
The Comptroller-General of Customs has a say in the new salary structure. However, it must be noted that the salary structure being discussed had been in force since 2007. It is yet to be given any update in recent times. Such information will be easily available to the general public once it is publicized by the Nigeria Customs Service.
Aside from the salaries received by the men and officers of the Nigeria Customs Service, some of them also collect kickbacks from individuals who may want to import certain items into Nigeria. However this practice is completely illegal and the government frowns at it.