Visa-on-arrival: Again, NIS fragrantly violates the TSA policy

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In what has been characterised as a gross defiance against one of the few outstanding achievements of the Buhari administration, the Nigerian Immigration Services(NIS) has implemented the issuance of a biometric visa-on-arrival, with proceeds that are not remitted into the Treasury Single Account(TSA).

According to media reports, the News Agency of Nigeria had earlier on investigated the introduction of the visa-on -arrival policy at the Muritala Mohammed International Airport by the NIS, which reportedly costs foreigners coming into Nigeria about $110. Investigations reveal that these funds are not being remitted into the TSA, which is the stipulated receiving system for all government agencies but are being collected by third party private agents.

According to a report by Punch Newspaper, the fees are being collected by two companies; Online Integrated Services (OIS) and New Works, who are service providers appointed by the Ministry of Interior to collect the charges. OIS collects $90, while New Works collects $20 for the issuance of the biometric visas.

Further investigation reveals that the use of these companies in collecting funds for the NIS is questionable. A quick search result on the internet reveals that New Works may be a completely fictitious firm as there is no information about it online.

Although the implementation of the policy was suspended a little after kick-off by the Comptroller-General of the NIS due to complaints about charges, many people are wondering why the NIS continues to violate the TSA policy without hindrance.

Although conceived under the regime of Goodluck Jonathan, the implementation of the TSA policy commenced in 2015 when President Buhari ordered all commercial banks to remit all Federal Government funds with them into a central account domiciled with the Central Bank of Nigeria. Since then, over N8.9 trillion has been remitted into the TSA for the Federal Government. Official sources say it saves the government over $11 million monthly from bank charges. While increasing transparency and accountability and blocking leakages.

This will not be the first time that the NIS will be flouting the TSA. There has been an ongoing controversy over the passport payment system. In December 2017, the Federal Government sought to prosecute 33 agencies which have not been remitting funds to the TSA. According to reports, over N450 billion have been accumulated outside the TSA. Prominent among the heavy defaulters was the NIS, which was threatened to be reported to the EFCC. Despite this, fees from passport processing continue to be surreptitiously remitted to other accounts in gross violation of the TSA.

 

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