The country’s immigration department has been allocated about K1billion for its operations; an amount the Immigration Chief says is not enough for the smooth running of the department’s operations.
The new man at the helm of the department’s leadership, Hudson Mankhwala said this at the end of a day-long familiarisation tour of the immigration department headquarters in Blantyre by the Minister of Home Affairs, Uladi Mussa.
Mankhwala said out of the allocated K6.1billion, government directed that K5billion be spared as payment to the supplier of the new immigration passport equipment which government has not been consistently paying for some time now.
“This financial year, we have been given K6.1billion of which about K5billion is for BOT (Buy Operate Transfer principal) contract for our passport system leaving us with less than K1billion for operations.
“However, payment to the suppliers of the new passport system has not been consistent hence affecting availability of passport books,” said the new immigration chief adding that this month’s allocation did not include any component of payment to the supplier.
Mankhwala said the department is also battling with the challenge of scarcity of passport booklets which has led to long queues in the Immigration’s regional centres.
“We received 8,000 (passport) booklets against a backlog of 25,343 applications. This resulted in long queues at all our three centres,” bemoaned Mankhwala.
Relocating of department
The immigration chief has also asked government to consider relocating the department’s Headquarters to Lilongwe for easy execution of business.
In his remarks, Mussa concurred with Mankhwala saying government was spending millions of kwacha with the Headquarters in the Southern Region.
“Government will save a lot of money when the Headquarters relocates to Lilongwe as most of the operations will be done in the capital.
“However, the regional office will remain here for distribution of passports and other documents,” explained Mussa.
Mussa promised to act on the department’s funding with expeditiousness saying the department generates more revenue for the government.
“This department generates a lot of the country’s revenue and that should correspond with a tangible allocation of funding to it,” observed Mussa.
Mussa has also asked the department’s officers to deliver their services professionally.
He said since the officers work with different kinds of people, they should treat them with humility.
“My Ministry will look into all of the issues presented to improve the department’s service delivery, especially regarding the manner in which you treat Malawians when they come to your offices for passports.
“Passports, Visas, business permits and other documents should not take long to produce. The new administration is working on a 21 day maximum period depending on the document applied for,” concluded Mussa.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :