GIS to issue visas at all Ghana missions

BY: Mary Mensah
Mr Javier Quesdda (right), Director of Intelligence FRONTEX, exchanging pleasantries with Mr Prosper Douglas Bani, the Minister of the Interior, after the conference.Picture: EMMANUEL ASAMOAH ADDAI

The Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) will soon start issuing visas at all the country’s missions abroad.

The move is to prevent delays in the issuance of Ghanaian visas to boost tourism and investment in the country.

The Minister of the Interior, Mr Prosper Bani, who announced this at the opening of a two-day Africa-Frontex Intelligence Community (AFIC) meeting in Accra yesterday, said the initiative also fell within the new Immigration Service Bill which was passed recently.

Under the new bill, the head of the GIS has also been elevated to Controller-General from Director, while border patrol officers and men will now carry arms in the performance of their duties.

He said the new bill would bring about a considerable change in the organisational structure and functions of the service.

Objective

Mr Bani said AFIC was born about six years ago with the major aim of bringing African countries and Frontex together to exchange intelligence, primarily on irregular migration.

That was partly in response to the growing wave of irregular migration from Africa to Europe, he said.

He explained that the intervention was especially directed at dangerous journeys across the Sahara Desert and the Mediterranean Sea, with the attendant deaths and the exploitation of the migrants by criminal groups.

Mr Bani said the activities of smugglers were of much concern to both continents.

The AFIC discourse was, therefore, to assist policy makers design appropriate measures to tackle the phenomenon, he added.

Intelligence exchange

“Over the years, however, AFIC had duly extended its intelligence exchange to cover all other transnational crimes, including terrorism, drug trafficking and money laundering,” the Interior Minister said.

He stressed that terrorism and other transnational crimes could be fought effectively through joint international efforts, including the sharing of intelligence and information.

Mr Bani said the GIS, in close conjunction with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), was implementing the Ghana Integrated Migration Management Approach (GIMMA) which had, among its key factors, the strengthening of border management by resourcing and training the border patrol unit.

Migration data management

He said the GIMMA would also build the capacity of the GIS to collect and manage migration data for policy development, as well as roll out a public information campaign against irregular migration.

The minister said the government would continue to support the activities of AFIC, especially in intelligence sharing which was critical to the development of the security agencies in all member countries.

The Director of Immigration, Mr Felix Yaw Sarpong, said AFIC had come a long way from its birth in Madrid in 2010 and that intelligence from its meetings and annual reports had been very encouraging.

He said it had also improved co-operation in the combat of transnational crimes.