The influx of illegal immigrants in Tanzania mainly from neighbouring countries and farther afield is due to the country's wealth in natural resources, investment and business opportunities coupled with prevailing peace and tranquillity.
Authoritative sources said in Dar es Salaam yesterday that illegal immigrants who operate in syndicates involving officials in government offices and institutions were stealing billions of shillings through illegal exports of natural resources. Those engaged in trading (goods and services) take their money plus government revenue (unpaid taxes and levies) out of the country by getting international currencies from bureau de change outlets.
Government records show that illegal immigrants come from Ethiopia, Somalia, China, India, Thailand, Korea, Europe, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Zambia, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Mozambique and Zimbabwe. Others come from former communist countries. The Director of Immigration Services, Mr Kinemo Kihomano, confirmed the presence of scores of illegal immigrants in the country.
He said there was a shortage of immigration officers to stem the rot. He said that the directorate was operating with only one third of the required number of immigration officers. He said that some illegal immigrants engaged in minerals (mainly gemstones), forest products (logs, sleepers), trophies and the hotel industry. "In order to alleviate the current problem of illegal immigrants, Tanzania needs 9,000 immigration officers but we have only 3,000 of them and some of them are not honest," he said.
He appealed for cooperation from members of the public. He said the 'wananchi' should report to the nearest police station or any security organ any sighting of people they suspect to be illegal immigrants. A total of 1,646 illegal immigrants were netted by immigration officers at different parts of the country since early this year. The group comprised 1,000 Ethiopians, two Eritreans and 644 Somalis.
Mr Kihomano said that out of the 1,000 Ethiopians, 256 were recently escorted to border points of Horohoro and Namanga where they were received by their relatives. He said that efforts to locate relatives of the remaining immigrants were going on. Mr Kihomano said that consultations between the governments of countries from where the illegal immigrants hail and Tanzania on how to take them back home helped Tanzania escape from paying for air tickets costing 600 US dollars (about 700,000/-) each.
-- Jean-Louis Kayitenkore Procurement Consultant Gsm: +250-08470205 Home: +250-55104140 P.O. Box 3867 Kigali-Rwanda East Africa Blog: http://www.cepgl.blogspot.com Skype ID : Kayisa66