LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)-The Department of Immigration and Citizenship Services has beaten the revenue collection targets of MK6.9 billion, raising MK7.4 billion in the yet to end 2016/2017 financial year.
This fete has been achieved despite numerous challenges rocking the department, among them the increased cases of illegal or irregular migrations into the country.
The agency’s Director-General, Masauko Medi, told the Defence, Security and International Relations Parliament cluster that the revenue collected, is attributed to staff hard work and dedication.
Medi disclosed that his two-year stay at the immigration department, has instilled faith in the treasury and the public, with less cases of siphoning public funds.
The Director-General however, said that the agency has fewer and old vehicles and that it was difficult to exact effective patrols of the already porous borders. This is exposing the country to illegal immigration, he informed the cluster. He added that the department needs about 83 vehicles in the 2017/2018 national budget for smooth operation.
“It’s sad that the department, which is performing better by over-collecting revenue, is failing to operate effectively, because of underfunding.
“Our proposal in the next budget, is that instead of depositing all the revenue into account number one, some of the money should be retained for its operations. This idea is still facing some huddles by the Treasury, but we will still push for it,” said Medi.
Medi also disclosed that department will decentralize its passport printing, to the lake shore district; this would ease congestion at its three regional offices Blantyre, Lilongwe and Mzuzu.
He said there is a lot of demand for passports from the lakeshore district and economic activities, hence the need to allocate the services closer to the people’s needs.
“There has been constant availability of passport books, and consumables in the year. We managed to issue 72,470 passports, which aren’t enough per demand. The department intends to decentralize passport issuance System (PIS) to Mangochi, Lilongwe Post offices under the One Stop Service Centre Project (OSCCP),” disclosed Medi.
Alex Major, the Cluster’s co-chairperson, lauded the department for revenue collection performance, with an assurance that the committee will plead for more funding to the department in this year’s national budget.
Major said the department needs more budgetary support for effective operation in securing the country’s borders, and protection of some revenues that government loses through illegal cross-border trading.
In the year review the department issued 1,584 permits and 6,977 visas, and deported 1,295 illegal immigrant to various countries.