THE Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) will soon be mandated as the sole issuer of visas at the country's Diplomatic Missions, Minister of the Interior, Ambrose Dery has said.
According to him, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration and his ministry had concluded decisions on modalities for the new regime and were working on the rollout.
Mr Dery made the remark in response to concerns raised by the Immigration Service Council (ISC) when the latter paid a courtesy call on the Minister in Accra on Wednesday.
The successful implementation of this decision, he said, would be in fulfilment of the Immigration Service Act 908 of 2016, adding that the takeover of the issuance of visas from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be gradual and in phases.
He said the service had the functional capacity and technical expertise to provide seamless visa services including detection of fake travel documents, among others.
"Certainly, the issuance of visas at Missions abroad by an immigration body has been the standard practice across the globe," he stated.
On the growing terrorism threats in neighbouring countries, he said it was an indication of the crucial role the GIS had to play as the first line of defence, adding that, the recent attack on a church in Burkina Faso was a sign of changes needed in the dynamics of migration management.
The Minister, therefore, called on the GIS to step up its role in intelligence gathering and the patrolling of the borders of the country and assured the Council of government's commitment at equipping personnel of the GIS with the needed resources to enhance their operational activities.
Mr Dery commended the GIS for the improvement in relationship and strengthening of collaboration with sister security agencies as it would engender effective intelligence sharing among the security agencies to enhance the provision of security in the country.
The chairman of the Immigration Service Council (ISC), Dr Edward Prempeh on his part, underscored the urgent need to arm personnel of the GIS to enable them confront border crimes with needed ruthlessness.
"The current situation at the borders poses a great risk without firearms," he said.
He noted that the takeover of the issuance of visas at Ghana's Missions abroad by the GIS would significantly improve on the monitoring and control of the current visa regime whiles contributing to national security.
He stated that the increment in the Internally Generated Fund (IGF) and subsequent provisions by the government to resource and retool the GIS would greatly boost the morale of personnel and enhance the internal security of the country.