October 3, 2019
By Ibrahim Tarawallie
Sierra Leone’s Chief Immigration Officer has admitted that nothing goes directly to them from the sale of passports to Sierra Leoneans and other nationals.
“Our passports are being produced by Thomas Delaru through Netpage. Since that contract began in 2015, the only money we collect when someone goes for a passport is the Le10, 000 paid for the passport forms, but it is not coming to us. The money is lodged straight into the Consolidated Revenue Fund,” Andrew Jaiah Kaikai said.
Presenting the institution’s budget proposal, strategic plan and income and expenditure for 2018 and first six months of 2019 at the ongoing budget discussions hosted at the Miatta Conference Centre on Tuesday October 1st, Mr. Kaikai stated that they were currently in a situation where even the minimal revenue they collect is not due them to help upkeep the institution.
He noted that every single penny that comes into the institution from the sale of passports and issuing of visas on arrival goes directly to the Consolidated Revenue Fund.
“Even monies from issuing visas on arrival are paid through the National Revenue Authority. Sadly, we use our own budget to pay the national printing press for the passport forms,” he stated.
Despite the many challenges, Kaikai said they were able to ensure that some of their staff went through capacity building and development, while the establishment of new border posts or areas is still ongoing.
Because they wanted to prevent terrorists from using Sierra Leone as a hub, he said they were working towards enforcing and administering immigration laws and policies to secure the country from illegal migration.
As a service delivery institution, the chief immigration officer added that staff are always advised to know how to treat those going for services because they are the first point of contact.
“We are still struggling with mobility and we have over 800 porous border crossing points and to even have a bicycle or motorbike in most of these areas is a problem. Some of the places we are currently we don’t have office buildings. Year in year out we have been renting and that has to change,” he added.
He appealed to the ministry of finance to approve the Le5.2billion giving to them as budget ceiling to help in enhancing the effective and efficient delivery of service to the people.
“When you look at our budget, it doesn’t really begin to explain the gravity of the security situation we are dealing with when you consider all the porous borders. We are seriously incapacitated as a department to handle the porous borders in Kailahun,” he maintained.
Answering to questions regarding the passport contract with Netpage, Kaikai stated that it was pegged on a hundred dollar, but assured of their determination to ensure that it is in Leones.