By Mustapha Jallow
The Gambia Immigration Department (GID) has collected one hundred and thirty-three million Dalasi (D133,000,000) as revenue in eight months only.
Tasked with the responsibilities of safeguarding borders as well as the smooth movement of people in and out of the country, the department has made a breakthrough with the collection of the said sum in just eight months.
This huge collection, according to GID officials, is the first time in the history of the Department that they collected this whopping amount of money.
However, despite the huge revenue collections in eight months, they said limited budgetary allocation, mobility, and office space remain a challenge for them.
The immigration department said the collection was a result of the senior command’s zero tolerance for corruption and financial malpractices, implementing strategies that are in line with international standards.
Speaking at a press conference held at the Department’s conference hall in Banjul, on 11 August, Seedy Touray, the Director General of GID, said: “The GID revenue performance in the first and second quarters demonstrates the Department’s ability to generate substantial funds. While the first and second quarters showcased commendable revenue collection, the second quarter witnessed a significant increase, indicating growth and improved financial performance.”
Commenting on the factors that led to the increase in revenue collection in the second quarter, Touray said travel activities, stricter immigration policies, and the implementation of new strategies may have contributed to the observed differences.
The GID, Touray went on, within the period under review targeted to generate (D76, 000, 000) through its activities.
“However, at the end of the first half of the year, 2023, D133 Million were collected. This represents a positive variance of D57 Million representing 75.65% increase above the projected revenue figure for the six months,” he says.
“This is a remarkable achievement. This revenue is a reflection of the Department’s efficiency in implementing immigration policies, ensuring compliance, and facilitating legal immigration policies. The collection of such a substantial amount of revenue highlights the Department’s commitment to its mandate and its contribution to the country’s economic growth,” he said.
Ebrima Mboob, the Commissioner of Administration of GID, said the huge collection was due to the commitment of the high command and their officers throughout the country.
“Our objectives are also to complement government’s efforts in revenue mobilization in their quest to partake in national development,” he said.
“Apart from our main responsibility which is ensuring that the country’s borders are safe and ensuring smooth movement of people in and out of the country, we are also collecting revenue for the government.”
Mboob added that they want to help the government achieve the objectives of the National Development Plan (NDP).
“We are also working with our partners and other security services in achieving the Security Sector Reform (SSR) agenda of the President,” he stated.
Since the appointment of DG Touray at the helm of affairs of Immigration, Mboob said, the GID has embarked on a series of reforms and brought in policies and strategies that are in line with best practices.
“Currently, we have 10 goals that we are working toward achieving, and key among them is to continue building the capacity of our staff, especially in the area of ICT among others,” he said, while adding “We want to digitalise our payment system now. In fact, currently, about 30 of our officers are undergoing training on ICT among others.”
Limited budgetary allocation and infrastructure, Commissioner Mboob said, continue to be a challenge for the Department.
Chief Supt. Karalang Jarju, the Officer Commanding Statistics at the GID, said: “Sensitising people to regularise their status also pays dividends in the huge revenue performance. We also ensure that we make follow-ups in all our stations across the country to ensure that the payments that are collected are paid to our accounts immediately after collection. The GID also opens a new border post at Tabanding in CRR south which are all geared towards ensuring that our borders are secure and revenues collected.”
He said despite the escalating prices among others, they are quite optimistic that the Department will collect the remaining D17 million of the D150 Million yearly target for the government.