Francis Asamoah Tuffour
THE government is to enact a law that would give the Immigration Service the power to use fire arms, especially in its border patrol operations, the Minister of Interior, Mr. William Kwasi Aboah, has disclosed.
Speaking to the “Ghanaian Times” on sideline of his maiden visit to the headquarters of the Ghana Immigration Service in Accra, yesterday he said six years after the creation of the Border Patrol to patrol the countries territories, the personnel are not permitted to use arms.
He said though, that the government is doing all it can including seeking legislation from Parliament for the service to use fire arms.
Addressing officials of the Service earlier, Mr. Aboah pointed out that the Service is one of the most important security agencies of any nation, especially that of Ghana it has become oil economy.
“The Immigration Service remains the sole institution in the country with statutory mandate under the Immigration Act, 2000 (Act 573) to regulate and monitor the entry, residence, employment and exit of foreigners in the country”.
“Your institution is therefore seen in the security terms as ‘gate-keepers’ of the country’s territorial boundaries”, he said.
The Minister said the service has gained international recognition for its professionalism.
Mr. Aboah indicated that he has been following developments within the service from afar and “I must confess that your four-year strategic plan which was launched in September last year is quite impressive,” saying he has read the document and appreciated the efforts the service is making to address challenges facing it.
“Government is aware of the huge shortfall of logistic and financial constraint including acute shortage of office and residential accommodation, vehicles, weapons for Border Patrol Units and communication gadgets”.
On training, the Minister said it has been identified as key to build the capacities for personnel to enhance performance adding that government has considered that it is plans.
The acting Director of the Service, Dr. Alex Peter Wiredu said the rapid growth and expansion of the service over the past 23 years in terms of organizational structures, staff numbers and institutional functions among others thing have brought in their trail challenges, particularly in the area of institutional funding and logistics.
On accommodation, Dr. Wiredu said less than 10 per cent of the staff are provided with accommodation facilities, mostly from private rented premises throughout the country,
Due to budgetary constraints, he said, the service is unable to settle its huge outstanding rent bills saying it is a grave concern, particularly to officers who do not get any rent subsidy on renting their own accommodation.
Dr. Wiredu indicated that because of the inadequate budgetary allocation, the service has over the years not been able to provide full complement of uniform and other accoutrements for officers.
This, he said, has compelled officers and men to resort to the purchase of uniform materials and other accessories on their own.