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Parliament is the sole authority to increase passport fee, Hon.  Bashiru Sidikie

October 26, 2016 By Jariatu Bangura

Member of Parliament for the country’s main opposition, the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP), from Bo district, has said that Parliament is the sole authority to authorise increase in fees of the Sierra Leone Passport.

He made this statement on Tuesday, 25 October, at the Well of Parliament during the approval of presidential nominees.

“There is a deadline for the increase in passport fee and I am urging this honourable House to be proactive. The officials Ministry of Internal Affairs should come before Parliament to explain why they want to increase the fees and who gave them the mandate to do so,” said the lawmaker.

Hon. Sidikie recalled that cost of a Sierra Leone Passport had been increased from Le100,000 to Le500,000 last year, adding that the Immigration Department should not blame it on the devaluation of the Leones as against the United States dollar.

He said Members of Parliament would not accept any new increase in the fees of Sierra Leone Passport, adding that the Ministry of Internal Affairs or Immigration Department should not make any increment.

Another SLPP Member of Parliament, Hon. Paran Tarawally, in his contribution, noted that a news release was making the round about an imminent increase in fees of Sierra Leone Passport from Le500,000 to Le750,000.

“There is another release from the Immigration Department dissociating itself from the said release. However, Netpage is not the authorising institution to increase the fees of the passport,” he said.

Hon. Tarawally made it clear that no other body within or outside Sierra Leone has authority to increase passport fees except the House of Parliament.

He urged the Speaker and Members of Parliament that they should not approve an increment in the fees.

Meanwhile, a release from Netpage – a private company in charge of producing the passport – had stated that each passport will from 1st November cost Le750,000, equivalent to US$100.

“Netpage, the company that prints passports in Sierra Leone, has been producing e-passport at a loss as a result of continued devaluation of the Leone to the US Dollar. The company has been producing e-passport in order to provide continued services but with the removal of the subsidy by the Government since 2015, the price from 1st November 2016 will be Le750,000,” the release stated.

The release also stated that the cost of a biometric passport was pegged at US$100 and Le500,000 was considered the equivalent .

“In the event if the Leone appreciates and stabilises, the price will be adjusted accordingly,” concluded the Netpage release.

However, it seems some lawmakers are unhappy with the decision and have thus urged their colleagues to kick against it. It remains to be seen though whether those words will be match by solid action.

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