The Federal Government has started installing the International Civil Aviation Organisation Public Key Directory at the country’s airports, Mr Abba Moro, the Minister of Interior, has said.
Moro, who announced this on the occasion of the 2012 Ministerial Platform in Abuja on Friday, said the directory was for the authentication of Nigerian e-passport and other travel documents at airports.
He said the device was being installed at all international airports to cut down on illegal entry into the country and exit.
``There is no gain-saying that the current security challenges being faced by the country is partly attributed to the influx of illegal and undesirable elements into the country.’’
According to him, the device will provide the needed facilities for the authentication of Nigerian e-passports and other electronic Machine Readable Travel Documents of other countries.
Moro noted that before the inception of the present administration, Nigeria had a very rigid and restrictive visa policy that was not investor-friendly and that there were sharp practices that constituted disincentive to Foreign Direct Investment.
``Issuance of visas at the entry points was non-existent; there was no categorisation of entry visas along business, tourist or investor classifications.
``We realised that a vibrant visa policy is required to create the right environment for foreign investment.
``Accordingly, we have taken some critical decision to bring some changes and possibly revolutionise our visa policy. This is to make it responsive to the dynamics of our times.’’
Moro said as a result of the policy review, Nigeria missions are to start issuing one-year multiple entry permit visa to all deserving visitors and tourists wishing to visit Nigeria.
He said that the Nigeria Immigration Service would issue 30 days non-extendable visitor’s tourists pass on arrival.
The minister urged Nigeria missions to ensure that they honoured the expatriate quota approvals, and urged them to ensure that only expatriates with the pre-requisite qualifications stated in the quota approval letters are issued entry visas.
He said the regime would include issuance of different categories of visa - short visit, temporary resident visa, employment-based visa and scarce skills transfer visa - at point of entry.
According to Moro, the new visa regime has enormous advantages -- speedy transaction, improved operational effectiveness, improved revenue generation and collection, reduction in transaction cost and enthronement of transparency.
``In our desire to ease these processes to attract foreign investments and generate employment, we took a key policy decision to automate expatriate quota administration.
``This is through public and private partnership arrangement at no cost to the Federal Government.’’
He said the policy, when fully operational, would allow expatriate quota applications to be made on line.
Moro said the policy would allow only three-month entry visa subject to renewal.