Funds Needed to Revive Special Immigration Task Force

By Bridgette Komatep – EM TV, Port Moresby

There is no money, currently available, to revive the Special Immigration Task Force, that was initially set up in 2012, to combat the influx of illegal immigrants and illegal businesses in the country.

Foreign Affairs Minister, Rimbink Pato says the K2 million given to the Immigration Task Force was all spent in 2012.

He made these remarks when giving an update on his recent trip to the Kingdom of Morocco in Africa recently.

Following a public outcry on social and mainstream media for illegal foreigners to be dealt with, Minister Pato says there are no funds to revive the Special Task Force.

Citizens have also raised concerns of jobs reserved for locals, being taken over by foreigners.

Pictures have also been circulated showing foreigners selling betel nut on the streets of Papua New Guinea; and their engagement in illicit activities, indicating the presence of illegal immigrants in rural areas.

In 2012, the Special Immigration Task Force was headed by John Bria and comprised of representatives from police, customs, the National Intelligence Organisation and immigration officials. It was responsible for the arrests and deportation of a number of illegal immigrants.

Calls to re-engage the Special Force was supported by Chief Secretary to Government, Sir Manasupe Zurenouc, Opposition strong-man and Vanimo-Green MP, Belden Namah and further supported by Oro Governor, Gary Juffa.

The Foreign Affairs Minister says if there is still no money, following his submission, then he will be forced to use funding internally to support the work of the task force, which he says is not part of the department’s roles and functions but a necessary activity for the department.

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