The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has attributed the scarcity of international passport booklets in the country to the lack of access to foreign currency.

Speaking at a public hearing organised by an ad-hoc committee of the House of Representatives, the Comptroller-General of the NIS, Idris Jere, said the booklets are imported into the country.

He said the shortage was caused by the “foreign exchange regulation policy of the government and CBN’s refusal to grant access to forex for importation of the booklets.

“We generate forex from the sale of passports but we do not have access to buy the same booklet and that is a challenge for NIS.

“The factors responsible for the scarcity of passports include the inability to set up passport producing factory in Nigeria as its production is done abroad.

“The major seven components used for producing passports are sold in the international market and the assemblage and production are done in Malaysia”, Jere explained.

The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, it would be recalled, had on May 2, said corrupt officials were undermining the efforts of the NIS at sanitising the passport application process.