The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) on Tuesday said its revenue dropped by almost 40 per cent in 2020 due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The Comptroller-General of the agency, Mr Muhammad Babandede, stated this while presenting the NIS 2020 Annual Report in Abuja.
Babandede said that while the NIS generated N62.6 billion and 1.8 million dollars (N16.2 billion) in 2019, the figures dropped to N49.6 billion and 20 million dollars (N7.7 billion) in 2020.
“The year 2020 was a difficult one, not only for the NIS but the entire globe.
“We are most hit because our job is travel related which is grossly affected by COVID-19 pandemic. Our revenue is affected by almost 50 per cent due to drop in mobility,” he said.
The NIS boss stated that in spite of the challenges, the Service recorded 99.5 per cent budgetary release, which was the highest in 10 years.
Babandede also expressed concern over an “increase in fake marriages” by foreigners to Nigerians just to avoid payment of Resistance Permit of 2,000 dollars (N776,000).
“In spite of several arrest and deportation orders signed by the Minister of Interior, we saw a sharp increase in December 2020, compared with previous months in the year.
“This is a call to action since fake marriages will continue to undermine revenue, take away jobs from Nigerians and pose security challenge to the country,” he added.
The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, while unveiling the report, urged the NIS to make it available to stakeholders to sensitise them on the agency’s operations and activities.
Aregbesola, represented by the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Dr Shuaibu Belgore, said the report would provide a “springboard for better performance in the years ahead”.
“It’s also important that a copy of the report be put on the NIS website and the Ministry of Interior’s website as well.
“This will make it easier for wider access especially global audience,” he said.
The minister expressed pleasure with verifiable data and information related to border management, travel documents, visa administration and residence permits in the report.
This, he said, was an indication of the agency’s commitment to compliance with the transparency and anti-corruption fight of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.