Plans are underway by the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) to review and hike the price of international passports, given the the high cost of producing the booklets abroad.
The Comptroller General of NIS, Mr. Muhammad Babandede disclosed this on Wednesday, in Abuja at the flag off of a capacity development programme for 500 immigration officers on ICT organised by the NIS in conjunction with Huawei Technologies in Abuja.
Babandede said Nigerians would now have to pay more for their international passports due to the high cost of producing the booklets abroad, which had become unsustainable and uncompetitive under the current dispensation.
He disclosed that it had become increasingly difficult for the immigration service to pay for the passport booklets outside the country because of the fall in value of the naira.
The NIS boss said production of the booklets, is done under a private partnership arrangement and is not funded by government.
He acknowledged that NIS is a revenue generating agency, and government’s investment in the NIS was limited to the workforce and the offices that it provides.
NIS said its intention is to make sure that these changes take place and promised to improve the efficiency of service delivery, but will only be possible when services are reviewed.
Babandede said that service delivery would improve as soon as the federal government approves the new fees for the passports.
He further urged the officers to take advantage of the ICT training by Huawei to improve their skills and improve service delivery in the organisation, stressing that the future of NIS rests on ICT in 2017, as there will be no more manual examinations, but computer-based.
Babandede disclosed that the NIS which has the biometrics of six million persons, has 84 issuing passport centres in the world, all connected to a single database.
He said nine million passport booklets had been issued because about three million persons have two passports, adding that with the ongoing biometric registration, such abnormalities would be eliminated.