Liberia’s Finance and Development Planning Minister, Amara Konneh, says government would need US$90 million to adequately prepare State security agencies to take over the country after UNMIL draws down.
He said initial 20 million supportfrom government to various security agencies is in sufficient to enable them execute their duties. Minister Konneh noted that getting new uniforms for security personnel, including materials to work with at various borders, while engaging in additional training and recruitment would cost huge amount of money.
Konneh spoke Saturday, September 12, at the joint graduation ceremony for newly recruited officers of both the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization and the National Fire Service. A total of 382 candidates graduated, including 73 from the National Fire Service, and 266 from the Bureau of Immigration, respectively.
The ceremony was held at Camp Biago Training Academy in Sinje town, Garwula District, Grand Cape Mount County. It brought together officials of government, members of the Diplomatic Corps, various security apparatus, residents, and citizens of the county
The Finance boss pointed out that government’s decision to recruit and train additional personnel is to afford Liberians an opportunity to serve after UNMIL leave. “We want our police, Immigration, and other officers to take on the mantle of ownership in making sure that our country is secure after the immediate departure of UNMIL in 2016”, he added.
Delivering the keynote address, he encouraged the graduates to stand in defend of the Motherland, reminding that the decision they have made by joining the security sector should be exhibited on the job. “Now you have become security, you are the first line of contact between Liberians and foreigners.”
Meanwhile, Minister Konneh has called on officers of the Bureau of Immigration, especially those assigned at the various borders to treat foreigners with care, stressing that there is a need for you guys to be flexible at the borders, “because we don’t want our partners to turn their backs; the way in which you will handle people at the borders will provide opportunity for more investors to come.”
He said the security sector is crucial in determining whether the private sector will invest more in the country, adding that government’s role as well as the citizens is to work collaboratively to fast track the developmental agenda.
By Lewis S. Teh – Editing by Jonathan Browne