Why we have to increase the cost of international passports

The Comptroller-General of the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), has said Nigerians will have to pay more to get international passports.

The comptroller General, Mr. Muhammad Babandede, disclosed this during an ICT development training in Abuja.

Babandede said the hike in cost for procuring the travel document is due to increased cost of making the booklets abroad.

He said it had become increasingly difficult for the immigration service to pay for the passport booklets.

He attributed the reason to the fall in the value of the naira.

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“You will agree with me that air tickets have doubled.

“You are also aware that a lot of things have changed, but the passport fees have not changed.

“We cannot afford to service these passports with the current charges,” he said.

He added that service delivery would improve as soon as the federal government approves the new fees for the passports.

The production of passport booklets is done under a private partnership arrangement.

It is not funded by the Nigerian government.

“Government is not giving any money, but we are revenue generating agency.

“If we continue this way, the government will not get any revenue.

“Our intention is to make sure that these changes take place and we will improve the efficiency of service delivery.

“We will bring more booklets and we will make sure that services are done within a stipulated time.

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“But this will only be possible when services are reviewed,” he said.

He urged the officers to take advantage of the ICT training by Huawei to improve their skills.

He said: “The future of NIS rests on ICT in 2017.

“There will be no more manual examinations, as they will now be computer-based.”

Babandede also said that the NIS has 84 issuing passport centres in the world.

He said all of these are connected to a single database, which has the biometrics of six million persons.