No Poor Man’s Passport
It is an incontrovertible fact that Sierra Leone is a notoriously poor country that has been occupying the bottom of the UN development index for sacral years apart from being ranked as the hungriest country on planet Earth.
The outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus has devastated our economy and, consequently, worsened the country’s poverty which now rings a bell.
It is amid this appalling economic state of affairs that the Ernest Bai Koroma-led All Peoples Congress (APC) government has thought it “wise” to propose catapulting the price of passport from Le100,000 to Le500,000 for ordinary passport and Le600,000 for the international one, a proposal which has sparked widespread criticism.
We are towing the line and reminding government that the new proposed passport price is not in the best interest of the masses who voted for them. The new passport price cannot easily be afforded by the average Sierra Leonean who works for a minimum wage of Le500,000 per month while thousands remain unemployed and economically impotent. But despite the deplorable economic status of the average Sierra Leonean, we believe every citizen is entitled to the national passport, hence, such an important national document must not be sold at a very high cost. Is our passport now reserved for only the affluent people? Has the poorest man no right to have our national passport?
We need not remind the government that it was elected by the masses to represent them and seek their welfare at all times. This makes government morally, politically and legally obligated to listen to the voice of the masses and take decisions in the best interest of the citizenry.
Government might have taken the decision to skyrocket the price of passport as part of its desperate revenue generation drive to meet its numerous financial commitments but it would be unfair on the part of government to generate revenue at the detriment of the already impoverished masses.
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