Mr. Cletus Avoka, Minister of Interior has asked Immigration and Custom Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS) personnel to eschew negative tendencies that would overshadow the well known Ghanaian hospitality and mar the first impression tourists and Immigrants get of the country.
He said unnecessary delays and harassment should not be done, rather all officers at the border post should show professionalism, integrity, and friendliness to foreigners coming in or exiting the country.
Mr. Avoka said this when he met personnel of the Immigration Service at Paga in the Upper East Region, as part of a week-long duty tour of the region to acquaint himself with the work of Departments and Agencies under the Ministry of Interior.
Mr. Avoka told the service personnel who work at the border posts that since they were the first to meet all people entering the country, they had the responsibility to create a good impression so that visitors would be encouraged to stay for long or visit the country several times and probably find reason to invest. “There is competition for investors all over the world and we have to put up a good image to attract them”, he added.
He however, asked the service personnel to be vigilant and to look out for criminals or those who come into the country to promote crime, and hand them over to the right authorities or have them monitored.
The Interior Minister advised them to work closely with other security personnel so that such collaboration would effectively help identify and weed out undesirable elements in the society, especially so with the upsurge of ‘419’ or Sakawa.
He cautioned them against becoming over-familiar with foreigners whom they hardly knew; as such people under the guise of friendship could take advantage and indulge in practices that could embarrass the country.
Mr. Avoka assured the personnel that their working conditions would be improved within the next three years.
Mr. Moses K. Gyamfi, Deputy Director of Immigration in Charge of Operations, announced that the Paga border post, a major entry point to the country linking Ghana and Burkina Faso, had been selected among four others to benefit from the Joint-Border Post Project sponsored by the World Bank.
Under the Project, both CEPS and Immigration Officers and their counterparts from neighbouring Burkina Faso would work under one roof to make travel procedure easier for people going out or coming into the country.
He said the large complex building that was started for that purpose had to be stopped due to land problems but that was being rectified, and that a new site had been found for the project.
He commended the Officers for their hard work, especially under the border patrol unit (BPU) which had proved to be a success in their operations.
Mr. Peter Defie, Upper East Regional Director of Immigration, complained that they lacked communication equipment at all the border posts saying that the radio they had for transmitting and receiving information had broken down.
He appealed for working gear, uniforms, rain coats and boots for the personnel who go on patrols in the bush.
He said their effective patrolling had led to the interception of many fuel smugglers and two locally manufactured pistols with six rounds of ammunition.
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