A nine-member Board for the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) was inaugurated in Accra with a call on them to team up with management to solve perennial challenges facing the Service to enhance smooth operations.
Mr James Agaga, the Deputy Minister of the Interior, said challenges such as insufficient budgetary allocation, lack of uniforms and jungle boots and other essential logistics, particularly provisions of monitoring vehicles to the Border Patrol Units of the Service is affecting the operations of the GIS.
He also mentioned insufficient office and residential accommodation, which he said was seriously hampering effective operations of the Service.
For instance, only 10 per cent of staff is accommodated and none of the Regional Command Offices is owned by the Service facilities and urged the new board to work hard to reverse the situation.
Mr Agaga said it was gratifying to note that the Service had secured a $32 million facility to build a new eight-storey modern office complex for the headquarters.
He said the government was working to ensure that the Border Patrol Unit of the Service is well equipped to promote effective patrolling.
?We are currently looking at the report and also trying to see if we can arm the Border Patrol Unit to enable them carry out their duties efficiently and effectively,? he added.
The Deputy Minister said the government had gone into public/private partnership agreement to solve accommodation needs of security agencies.
?We are also aware that some of them have parcels of land which they can use as equity for private operators to build accommodation on part and the rest be used for business purposes,? he said.
He therefore urged the Board members to try and avoid any existing rancour and assist the Service to grow.
The Board under the chairmanship of Mr Cletus Avoka, Member of Parliament for Zebilla Constituency and a one-time former Minister for the Interior swore the official oath of office and secrecy.
Mr Avoka thanked President John Mahama for the honour done them and assured him of their preparedness to work hard in building a responsible Immigration Service in Ghana.
He also assured the staff and Management of their resolution to assist the Service to enhance its performance and operations.
?We need the cooperation of the Ministry, Management and the Staff to enable us perform because the Board alone cannot do anything,? he added.
Mr Avoka said Ghana Immigration Service plays a key role in selling the country because they are first to see foreigners entering the country and the last to see them out of the country.
That, he said, called for professionalism, discipline and compartment on the part of the Service Men and women to portray a positive image of the country.
He said during his tenure of office as the Minister for the Interior, he proposed the arming of the Border Patrol Unit and it had been approved by the National Security Council but due the change of government the decision had not been implemented.
He assured that the new board would revisit the decision and see how to fast track it.
On accommodation, Mr Avoka said government alone cannot build office accommodation throughout the country and called for other private partners to assist.
He said there is the need to lobby the Metropolitan, Municipal and District assemblies to assist in their small ways.
?I know they have been doing that for some government institutions and they can as well assist the Immigration Service,? he added.