In a drive to provide reformed and quality service delivery and at the same time improve accountability on public revenue collection, the Malawi Immigration Department says it plans to open a Foreign Currency Dominated Account (FCDA) so that all Malawi foreign missions can be remitting all the finances collected from immigration related services into it to ensure transparency and fiscal discipline.
Chief Immigration Officer, Masauko Medi says, this is in line with the ongoing Public Reforms being championed by the government of Malawi and spearheaded by State Vice President Dr. Saulos Klaus Chilima.
In a telephone interview with Nyasa Times, Medi said Immigration Department has decided to open a Foreign Dominated Account to ensure that all the money collected on immigration related services are accounted for, but also at the same time, the department keeps track on the revenue collected by Malawi foreign missions.
Said Medi: “At the moment, it is hard for us (Immigration Department) to keep track of the revenues collected through fees on passports, visas and other immigration related matters because there is no proper system for remittance.”
The Chief Immigration Officer, Medi, a career police officer and currently holding a rank of Commissioner, emphasized that money collected through immigration services is public funds that must be properly accounted for saying his department makes a lot of money through foreign embassies.
“Malawi, as one of the world’s best tourist attraction centres makes a lot of money through visa fees and other immigration related services. Our foreign missions across the globe deals with Diaspora Malawians on issuance of passports and temporary travel documents and makes a lot of money out of such services but we normally do not get such money because it is very difficult to account for it,” said Medi.
Medi explained that with a Foreign Dominated Account for the foreign missions to remit funds, it will be easy for his department to account for all the monies that has been collected through immigration services in foreign countries from Malawians in the Diaspora.
“We need to account for every penny. Our country needs such revenue for its development and the only way to do so is but to put in place systems that will enhance transparency and accountability on public funds and my department will leave no stone unturned to ensure that every penny collected from immigration related services is put to good use and not end in someone’s pocket,” said Medi in a matter of fact tone.
Under Medi, the Immigration Department gone through a massive revamp on service delivery by increasing productivity and established Lilongwe and Mzuzu as independent Passport printing stations in order to reduce congestion and overcrowding the Blantyre office, the department’s headquarters.
The Immigration has launched SMS Passport Enquiry Service through which passport applicants enquires or keep track of progress on their application by sending the bar-code number to 343 for Airtel subscribers for the time being.
The highly ambitious Medi says his department is also working on developing an electronic Visa issuance (E-Visa) which according to him, will allow application of visas online from anywhere across the globe anytime.
“We are in now living in a technological era where everything is electronic. We must move with the times and thus we need to take a technological approach if we are to remain relevant in the cyber world in which we live in,” explained Medi.
Medi said that times have changed and therefore there is need for Malawians to change their way of thinking to match the modern trends stating that he has made it clear at Malawi Immigration Department to everyone to change their thinking and adopt a new wave of think to match the modern wavelengths.
Furthermore, Medi says, the rolling the rolling out Integrated Border Control System (IBCS) project which is aimed automating all immigration border posts is on the right course.
Medi appended that the process to computerise the permit of issuance system has already commenced and that the procurement of consultancy services for review of the permit issuance procedures is underway with support from World Bank.
The tough-talking Chief Immigration Officer said the Malawi Immigration Department is committed and dedicated to providing efficient and effective service to the public saying that there is no room for corruption warning that anybody caught playing graft games will be brought to book.
“I would like to emphasize that as the head of the immigration department I will not tolerate any of my officers doing any form of corruption. I have made it clear to everybody that we need to be committed and dedicated to serving our country and we all must resist from corrupt acts.”
“I am very much passionate on eradicating corruption. I will severe deal with anyone caught in corruption and bribery and ensure that that person is punished accordingly,” warned Medi.
He added: “Corruption is a disease that eats the very fibre of our society. We cannot develop if we resort to corruption. As public servants, we need to commit ourselves fully to doing our job with honesty and sincerity. This is our country; let us not sell it out to ‘others’ because we are greedy. Hard work pays and there is no short cut to success as a short cut to prosperity is always a wrong cut. I appeal to all Malawians to join hands in eradicating corruption. Together we can win the fight against this cancer which is eating our society.”Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :