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General News of Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Source: The Finder

Housing crisis in Immigration

The acute shortage of office and residential accommodation facing the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) is impacting negatively on effective discharge of their duties.

The service shares its headquarters with the Veterans Association of Ghana (VAG), and all regional headquarters share offices with Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MMDAs)

Less than 10% of the close to 4,500 personnel are provided with accommodation facilities, mostly from private-rented premises.

Officers who are not fortunate to be among the 10% pay for their own accommodation while those on transfer have to perch with colleagues for months and look for their own accommodation.

Officers and men have resorted to the purchase of uniforms, materials and other accessories from shops on their own volition.

The uniforms supplied usually are not adequate due to a shortfall in budgetary allocation to the GIS, so to appear smart, officers purchase fabrics to sew additional uniforms.

Out of the 208 accommodation faculties, the GIS owns only 31 and pays rent on 177. It can boast of one headquarters that it shares with VAG, 11 regional offices, 14 sector commands and 41 district offices that are located in MMDAs, as well as one academy.

It has purchased 53 properties to be developed, rented three offices – two in Accra and one in Tema.

Head of Public Affairs of the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS), Francis Palmdeti told The Finder the service has raised the matter with the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission to consider the provision of accommodation as part of condition of service.

According to him, the GIS is faced with dire logistical constraints which hampered its operations, saying: “Naturally, the rapid growth and expansion of the GIS brought in its trail challenges, particularly in the areas of institutional funding and essential logistics, which continue to hamper the administrative and operational effectiveness of the service in many ways.”

He said inadequate supply of vehicles, communication and other operational facilities greatly hampered the duties of personnel, saying “most Regional Commanders do not have dependable means of transport as command vehicles.”

He added that government was aware of the huge shortfalls of logistics and financial requirements of the service, including acute shortage of office and residential accommodation, vehicles, weapons for the Border Patrol Unit, and communication equipment.

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