Federal Government has authorised the issuance of visa-on-arrival and point of entry to certain categories of foreigners and net worth investors. The directive is part of efforts to attract Foreign Directive Investment (FDI) and also address challenges facing the operations of Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS). Comptroller General of NIS David Shikfu Parradang, disclosed this over the weekend while delivering a speech at Nigeria-South Africa Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Breakfast Forum in Lagos. Parradang, who spoke through his Special Assistant on Operations and Deputy Comptroller Solomon Leggjack, said the directive may be subject to the principle of reciprocity in the issuance of visas and applicable fees chargeable to foreigners as one of the ways to engage in citizen diplomacy and stem the tide of ill-treatment of Nigerians who apply for immigration facilities in foreign countries or where they are resident. To also ensure faster issuance of visas, the immigration chief said NIS has secured Federal Government’s approval to post professional immigration officers to issue visas in some of the nation’s overseas missions. In the same vein, he has authorised the processing and issuance of Cerpac (Green) Residence cards to every foreigner who has already purchased same but not yet issued with the cards.
Parrandang revealed that the issue of indefinite stay for Niger-wives too, which has lingered and defied every solution due to the yearly issuance of Cerpac cards has similarly been resolved. Niger-wives are foreigners who are married to Nigerians. He said that the agency has commenced a massive re-orientation of NIS personnel as well as re-tooling its operational mode and work ethics away from those acts and practices that are clear indisincentives to foreigners and investors into the nation’s economy. “There’s more emphasis now on timely, seamless and efficient service delivery to the general public in line with SERVICOM Charter as well as implementable welfare packages and awards to NIS personnel for exemplary conduct”, he said.
He acknowledged some practical immigration challenges facing expatriates in Nigeria as including lack of knowledge for the requirement of quota before employment of any expatriate; non-use of NIS website for assessing immigration facilities and also to have a feed-back from those who use it as to its adequacy or other-wise and been issued with wrong classification of visas at Nigeria’s embassies abroad. Other, according to him are possession of non-vetted credentials/travel documents, arrival with no credentials or without requisite qualifications for the positions they intend to occupy. Meanwhile, the Executive Chairman of Lagos State Board of Internal Revenue, Dr. William Babatunde Fowler, has appealed to members of the Nigerian South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NSACC) to perform their social responsibility and obey the law of the land by paying their taxes, deducting adequate taxes and remitting same as at when due as prescribed by statutory provisions. Fowler who also spoke at the breakfast forum, said the NSACC should assist in sensitising members towards a tax compliance culture.
“It is also essential for NSACC to ensure and sanction members when they act in defiance of well established laws. Memebers of NSACC are important stakeholders- revenue administrators, tax consultants, tax payers – in the Nigerian Tax Administration process and must join hands with revenue administrators in ensuring that their clients comply fully with the various tax laws”, he said. On the part of his agency, he said it would “continue to operate a proactive, responsive, transparent, efficient and effective revenue service.”