Immigration Department in the Northern Region says it owes service providers and staff K26 million in services and allowances.
Regional immigration officer (North) Nelson Kankhande said this on Saturday when Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security Grace Chiumia visited the office to familiarise herself with operations.
Said Kankhonde: “Underfunding is affecting operations because we have stopped sending officers to the field. We cannot continue accumulating debts in allowances and this is also fueling corruption in provision of services.”
He said the office is also grappling with mobility challenges as they only have two vehicles to serve the Northern Region. He said this is also thwarting efforts to stop illegal immigrants.
“Chitipa and Songwe [in Karonga], are used as entry points for illegal immigrants. To successfully stop the immigrants, we need more vehicles, fuel and funding,” said Kankhonde.
Chiumia confessed that the department is underfunded, saying the gap between revenue and funding is wide.
She said the department is rich given the revenue it collects and, with proper policies in place, it can fund itself to reduce the challenges.
Said Chiumia: “We [as government] need to discuss on how to fill the gap [in funding]. One way is to allocate a particular percentage of the revenue you collect to support operations.”
The regional office receives K4.6 million a month for operations against K105 million revenue it collects over the same period, according to Kankhande.
The minister also visited the Northern Region Police Headquarters and Mzuzu Prison. n