Sierra Leone has over 800 Porous Border Crossing Points
The Chief Immigration Officer (CIO), Mr. Andrew Jaiah Kaikai on 1st October, 2019 disclosed at the ongoing 2020 budget discussion at the Miatta Conference Centre in Freetown that they have identified over 800 porous border crossing points in Sierra Leone with Kailahun District alone recording over 56 of them.
Mr. Andrew J.Kaikai expressed gratitude for the support they have been receiving from members of the public in diverse ways, noting that the Immigration Department was established in the 1960s by an Act of Parliament. He said the Department is part of the security architecture of the country and that it is a service delivery unit.
The CIO said it is basically a Department that is performing a custodianship role over Sierra Leone passports with the 1967 Act to consolidate and amend the Immigration Registration Act, the Aliens Registration Act, the Lodgers (Registration in hotels) Acts and the expulsion of 1963.
He furthered that the Immigration Department has initiated visa on arrival system with the Sierra Leone Commercial Bank (SLCB) as potential winners of the bidding contract to promote visa availability and national development, noting that the operation of the Department is in slow pace due to the lack of mobility and the late disbursement of funds.
Mr. Kaikai recalled that in 2018, the Immigration Department was able to repatriate over 400 citizens from Mail and that they also recently received another set of 14 Sierra Leoneans from the United States for various offences.
He conceded that though all their transactions are tagged in Leones, the passport was initially tagged with the United States Dollar rate. The CIO furthered that he has been able to sustain and maintain the price of the passport even though the Dollar has increased to over Le1 million.
Mr. Kaikai stressed that the revenue they collect at the Immigration Department goes directly into the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF). He assured that they would use their budget allocation for its intended purpose to promote employment and transform major border crossing points to increase revenue generation.
He appealed to various stakeholders, including the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Planning and Economic Development, DBOCs and NSAs to consider their budget for the Fiscal Year 2020, considering the fact that they have huge task ahead to accomplish.
Mr. Kaikai urged the Ministry of Finance to fast-track the budget allocation and disbursement promptly, so that they can assist the Government in security preparedness across most porous border crossing points in the country.
By Alhassan Bangura
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