Authorities at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Monrovia have announced an increment in the cost for an ECOWAS Biometric Liberian Passport from US$23.00 to $US50.00.
The Foreign Ministry here says the increase is necessary to decentralize the passport process and add value to it.
The Passport Division, situated within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is specifically responsible to issue ECOWAS Biometric Passports to Liberian citizens in and out of the country as well as to ensure issuance of valid passports.
Addressing a regular press briefing on Monday, 30 March at the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism on Capitol Hill, Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal Affairs, Cllr. Boakai Kanneh, said the Passport Division doesn’t just issue passports to non-Liberians because it is a requirement that anyone obtaining an ECOWAS Biometric Passport in Liberia must be a Liberian by birth or a naturalized citizen with appropriate documents from the court.
“We don’t automatically issue passport to well meaning Liberian citizens because it is required by Law that the passport stands as identification of citizenship that you belong to Liberia or any country’s passport that you possess”, Cllr. Kanneh explained.
He said there are three types of passport being issued to Liberians, including an Official Passport, Diplomatic Passport, and the green ECOWAS Biometric Passport, respectively.
Minister Kanneh said the increase in the cost of passport by the Government is also intended to improve quality of services and security features within the passport process, which enable Liberians outside the country to have easy access.
He noted that many citizens outside of Liberia complain about lack of access to Liberian passports, which cause them to move from one country to another just to obtain a Liberia passport.
Cllr. Kanneh detailed that the Official Passports are issued to government employees with specific functions such as Directors or Assistant Directors, among others, while the Diplomatic Passport is for cabinet ministers, and other senior personalities in government, and the green ECOWAS Biometric Passport is for ordinary citizens, desirous of traveling out of the country or for any private reason.
By Lewis S. Teh