Some employees of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) have kicked against plans to halt the implementation of the recently-approved Competency Based Accelerated Career Progression Plan (CBACPP) in the promotion of staff of the organisation.
The concerned officers are disturbed that despite the CBACPP being approved by the federal government, some persons were bent on making sure it’s not implemented, under the guise that it will impact a section of the country negatively, reports The Nation.
The government through the NCS board had recently approved the implementation of the CBACPP for officers of the service, explaining that the plan was a ‘proactive strategy’ designed to ensure the customs is well staffed in the future.
Specifically, the NCS stated that it was meant to close the generational gap that could lead to a leadership vacuum in the higher hierarchies of the service if not addressed.
However, it was gathered that those who are opposed to the programme were doing so because they are afraid that when the new system becomes operational, a number of them who do not have the requisite educational qualifications will be side-lined.
It was gathered that the problem the NCS sought to solve arose because prior to the 2009 recruitment, there was a long period when no one was recruited into the customs service.
This implies that by 2028 all the officers who joined the service prior to the 2009 recruitment would retire on account of their length of service.
The consequence of this, which the government tried to avoid, is that there would be some leadership gaps, as none of the officers recruited in 2009 would have risen to the rank of a comptroller.
Realising the imminent problem, the immediate past leadership of the service designed a career accelerated programme to allow officers with certain educational and professional qualifications to step up and earn expedited career progression, one source said.
Although the last leadership of the service was slow to execute it after the approval, it was understood that the career accelerated programme had been approved by the Muhammadu Buhari administration.
However, there were suggestions that some senior officers from a certain part of the country would be short-changed by the approved career accelerated programme.
“This is considering that many of the officers from that region don’t have the requisite additional educational and professional qualifications,” a source stated.
According to the proponents of the new policy, sweeping the programme under the carpet or not implementing it would pose danger to the continuous existence of the service.
A departmental memo indicated that in the next six years, all the General Duty (GD) officers recruited into the superintendent cadre before 2009 would have exited the service, either by age or 35 years statutory requirement, thereby creating serious human resources problems.
“Conscious of the challenge this could pose for the service in the nearest future, the Comptroller-General of Customs (CGC) through the board recently approved the implementation of proper placement for officers recruited into the service at the superintendent cadre between 2009 to 2015.
“This exercise, which has received wide applause has boosted the moral of officers, and has consequently narrowed the 17 years generational gap in the system.
“Despite the significant gains achieved through the proper placement, it is instructive to note that by 2028, when the current mid-level and top management officers have all retired from the service, the most senior GD officers in the service would be wearing the rank of Deputy Comptrollers (DC).
“This projection is based on the minimum number of years that an officer must spend on a rank before being considered eligible for promotion in line with Public Service Rule (PSR) Promotion maturity criterion 020701,” the memo noted.
In addition, it explained that this will therefore mean that no customs officer of the General Duty cadre would have the requisite rank or experience at the top level to head the service by 2028 if a proactive solution is not explored.