Immigration official explains reasons for shortage of Nigerian passports

Immigration official explains reasons for shortage of Nigerian passports

The Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) policies have been cited by the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) as one of the causes of the country’s lack of passport booklets.

Idris Jere, the Comptroller-General of NIS, revealed this on Tuesday while appearing before a House of Representatives ad hoc committee looking into the printing of passport booklets in Nigeria.

Many Nigerians have been struggling to get their passports after the proper application process within and outside the shores of the country.

It can take more than two to three weeks or more to get one after application.

This has affected the traveling arrangements of many, especially those whose passports may have expired.

Mr. Jere pointed out that the majority of the materials used to make booklets come from outside Nigeria, necessitating the use of foreign exchange (forex) from the CBN. He explained to the lawmakers how the scarcity of foreign exchange has an impact on booklet production.

“Foreign exchange regulation policy of the government and CBN’s refusal to grant access to forex for importation of the passport booklet………we generate forex from the sale of passport but we do not have access to buy the same booklet and that is a challenge for NIS.

“The factors responsible for the scarcity of passports include the inability to set up passport producing factory in Nigeria as its production is done abroad,” he said.

Mr Jere suggested that a proper exit plan be put in place for a smooth transfer from Irris Smart Tech to prevent any breach of contract and production process in response to the president’s direction that booklets be printed by the Nigeria Security Printing and Minting PLC (NSPM).

Yinker Fisher, the CEO of Irris Smart Technology Ltd, corroborated that forex is the major challenge to the production of booklets.


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