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14.02.2006 General News

Govt enhances responsibility of Immigration Service

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Accra, Feb. 14 GNA - Government on Tuesday said it has noted with concern recent statements made in the media relating to Government's decision to enhance the responsibilities of the Ghana Immigration Service (IMS).

A statement the Minister of the Interior, Papa Owusu Ankomah said all over the world including Ghana, movements of persons across borders have multiplied over the last decade and the flows had become very diverse and complex thereby making border management and control critical to national security as well as the achievement of sustainable growth.

It said that issue has therefore compelled a review of border management all over the world so as to deal more effectively with crimes including passport and document fraud, human trafficking, refugee flows, proliferation of small arms and terrorism among other things. The statement said the primary mission of border management, therefore, was to prevent illegal entry and restrict territorial access to undesirable persons.

Recent events in Ghana have brought to the fore the need to redefine Ghana's border security to meet existing threats. Government, therefore, has taken urgent steps to address these security concerns including expanding the responsibility of the Ghana Immigration Service for more efficient border control and also to promote better interagency co-ordination at the borders with enhanced logistics and technological resources.

The statement said "Government wishes to assure all agencies operating at the borders that the decision to support the Ghana Immigration Service to intensify its border patrols in no way undermines or threatens the functions of the other agencies."

It said, "under the Immigration Act, 2000 (Act 573) the Ghana Immigration Service is the agency responsible for regulating the entry and exit of persons to and from Ghana.

"The objective of Government's decision, therefore, is to empower the Ghana Immigration Service in a gradual manner to maximise deterrence and interdictions of undesirable persons who attempt to enter Ghana. "Government takes cognisance of the fact that effective border management is a shared responsibility that requires the close collaboration and co-operation of all border security agencies to better control violations and will therefore, within the nation's limited financial resources, support all these agencies to enable them to more effectively discharge their statutory duties", the statement said.

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