MP’S TO CRUMBLE DAUDA’S PASSPORT DEAL: Unreasonably, unrealistically unacceptable

The debate in the House of Parliament by both the Opposition and Members of the Ruling Government will commence today and probably end by the close of business with the two sides speaking with one voice over the price of the new passport. The Supervising Ministry of the Immigration Department, which is the Ministry of Internal Affairs, has concluded a passport deal with a cut throat price that has been perceived by many as not in the interest of the Country.

Taking into account the economic hardship that has become very unbearable to the people of this country and considering the political backlash it would cause if the price of a single passport is pegged at Le500.00 (Five Hundred Thousand Leones) are some of the most fundamental issues the House will unanimously discussed today in Parliament and come up with recommendations that may be acceptable by the public. In Liberia, the price of an e-passport is sold at US$50.00, which is about, Two Hundred Thousand Leones or a little over. In Sierra Leone, it is expected that the price will double which would mean, not every Sierra Leonean will be able to afford a passport, considering the economic situation in the country.

Members of Parliament will not only re-examine the price that was pegged without reference to them, but will also be interested in the agreement between the Ministry of Internal Affairs and a middle-man-Company prior to getting to the Immigration Department where it would sold at a cut-throat-price to the consumers.

President Koroma, sources at State House revealed is not only uncomfortable with the price but has considered the new price unrealistically too high for the average Sierra Leonean to buy. It would be recalled that the Anti Corruption Commission took up the issue of the passport not too long ago when members of the public and Civil Society Groups opposed the new price and called for an investigation into the contract, which many say lacked procurement ingredients. Since the intervention of the ACC nothing has been heard from the Commission, whether it has dropped the investigation or still pursuing it is yet unknown. However, Parliament today will take a conclusive approach to the passport issue. As representatives of the people they would not want the people to blame them for increasing their woes or making lives very uncomfortable for them as they would be missing their responsibilities to them. A Member of the Opposition that this medium spoke to, has explained that it is not the affair of the APC alone but all Members of Parliament as all of them have relatives, children and loved ones that they care for, therefore pegging the price at Five Hundred Thousand Leones means that some of them would be directly affected anytime members of their families need a copy of the passport. “We cannot buy a knife to cut our own throat” He said, and went on “As Members of Parliament we would not allow a group of cabal to hurt our people with high passport price” He concluded. It is now evident that the price of Five Hundred Thousand Leones per copy of the e-passport will not be accepted if Members of Parliament are reasonable in their deliberations and consider the economic situation that is affecting all and sundry.

Passport is a valuable document, which every citizens of a country should be able to acquire and incumbent on the Government to make it available to its Citizens.

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