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Immigration Department pleads for more funding

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The Department of Immigration and Citizenship Services has said it is failing to curb the increasing cases of illegal or irregular migration in the country due to lack of resources.

In the whole Northern Region, which is the main entry for illegal immigrants, the department is said to have only one vehicle for operations.

The development is negatively affecting the regular border patrols that the department is mandated to do.

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Ironically, the department has managed to collect revenue in the region of about K7.4 billion for the financial year ending, surpassing the government set target of K6.9 billion.

The Director General for the department, Masauko Medi, told the Defence, Security and International Relations cluster of Parliament Thursday that the department has few and old vehicles for effective patrols of the already porous borders, thereby exposing the country to illegal immigrants.

The department needs about 83 vehicles for operations but in the 2016/2018 fiscal year, it only managed to buy one vehicle and that vehicle was for management not operations.

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In the 2017/2018 fiscal year, according to Medi, the department has plans to purchase 20 vehicles.

Medi also said the department is operating using outdated equipment, which will be felt most from January next year when the department is expected to part ways with a company that is offering information and communications technology services, Techno Brain.

Less than 100 of the inadequate 600 officers at the department are living in institutional houses and the officers operate in dilapidated offices thereby affecting their morale.

“It is sad that the department which is performing better by over collecting revenue is failing to operate effectively because of underfunding,” Medi said.

Medi suggested that instead of depositing all the revenue into the Account Number One, some of the money that the department collects should be retained for its operations, a suggestion which Treasury representatives at the meeting quashed.

He also said the department has a project to establish additional border posts in areas where people move in and out of the country but the department continues looking for funds as the project has never been funded.

Cluster Co-chairperson, Alex Major, said the department needs more budgetary support for it to be effective in securing the country’s borders and protection of some revenue that government loses through illegal cross-border trade.

“They have valid concerns. We will take their grievances to the Ministry of Finance for consideration,” Major said.

The department proposed a budget of over K22.2 billion but government has allocated about K2.4 billion to it for other recurrent transactions, personal emoluments and development.

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