As the government embarks on controlling expenditure (austerity measures) to save Le309 billion in 2016, Sierra Leone passport will from 1st November cost seven hundred and fifty thousand Leones.
This amount is considered as the equivalent of US$100. Netpage, the company that prints passports, says it 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 the e-passport at a loss and in order to provide continued services and with removal of the subsidy by the Government since 2015 the effective price from 1st November 2016 will be Le750,000,” the statement reads.
The cost of a biometric passport was pegged at US$100 and Le500,000 was considered the equivalent .“In the event the Leone appreciates and stabilizes the price will be adjusted accordingly,” Netpage states.
This has provoked angry reactions from the public. Ali Conteh, a frequent traveller says the so-called austerity is the outcome of over spending on UN trips with delegations of up to forty. “We the ordinary people are going to pay for the mismanagement of the economy,” he says.
Salamatu a trader, describes it as the outcome of creating so many offices, increasing the number of ministers and above all buying flight tickets for cronies to dance ‘send am go don’ in New York. “This is what Emmerson sings about. They have destroyed this economy. Soon they will talk about globalization,” she angrily replied.
Alimu Jalloh says the time should be extended from five to ten years, if the government was asking for seven hundred and fifty thousand.
Immigration department declined to comment on the increase.