The deputy minister of Internal Affairs and Local Government, Raymond Kabia, over the weekend revealed to Awoko that when they took over the ministry, they inherited a completely bankrupt kitty as the previous government was only allocating budget for the first quarter of a year and never for the remaining three quarters.
He said it took him over two months before he could be supplied with pens and papers from government’s coffers and as a result, “when you take up a bankrupt government, it becomes difficult for you to change things round”.
Mr Kabia revealed that, “the Rural Development wing in the ministry was almost left out of budgetary allocation since the allocation was so small that it was run by one man. We inherited a government where people didn’t care about what happened tomorrow, where people had no commitment to serving and a government that left everything decayed and nobody cared to fix up anything”.
Minister Kabia revealed further that it would be surprising for the nation to learn that even the elevators at the Youyi Building, where about 70% of government work is being carried out, were not operational.
Responding to questions relating to conditions at the National Registration Centre, an institution responsible for issuing out national identification cards to citizens, the deputy minister said, “government is currently faced with the problem of paying the balance fee of a five-year contract that the former government signed with DeLauro at 4.2 million Pound Starlings.
He stated that, “the money was to be paid in installments and the first installment has been paid already but certain amount must be paid before DeLauro could come in with machinery to start the process of giving out the national ID cards”.
As a ministry, he said, they were concerned with the cost if the contract which he said was exorbitant based upon the economic viability of the recipients of the programme. He maintained that they were of the opinion that if they were to pay the money, getting it back from the recipients would be a difficult problem, adding that there were plans of canceling the contract but given the legal implications they could not do that.
Despite deciding to continue with such a contract, he said the APC government was now faced with financial problem. “The previous government paid part of the initial contract fee and now it’s time to pay the second installment but there is no money to do that”, he noted. The deputy minister averred that they had employed staff at the National Registration Centre who had not been doing anything “but just sitting down to wait on machines that are not forthcoming” and that the government would be left with no other alternative but to reduce the number of staff at that centre.
Speaking on development within the Immigrations Department, deputy minister Raymond Kabia said, “there is currently a review of the Immigration Act which is almost completed as it will be looking at issues that deal with the monitoring of foreigners who come in and out of the country”.
Continuing on this issue he stated further that, “as a ministry we are concerned with the problems at the Immigrations Department where even the location of the building is not acceptable, computers are not functioning and even files are scattered all over”.
He disclosed that there are currently consultations on-going with donor partners to help in giving a facelift to the Immigrations Department. By John Baimba Sesay