Sierra Leone migrated from the machine readable passport to e-passport in 2014 in a quest to meet the International Civil Aviation Organization’s standards. A cloud of controversy hung over the asking price of a hundred United States dollars, (US$ 100) and citizens were not happy over the astronomical increase from hundred thousand Leones to 500 thousand at the time.
Following pressure from the public for the skyrocketing price of the Passports, the Government agreed for De La Rue to appoint a third party to be selling Passports on their behalf in Sierra Leone in a tripartite agreement.
Netpage, a local company, was appointed to be collecting money from the sale of Passports in Sierra Leone. Its local focal contact person, Jamel Shallop says the due process was followed as all relevant stakeholders in the agreement did due diligence.
Sequel to those trends of affairs the Former Minister of Internal Affairs, Alfred Paolo Conteh disclosed that the price was reduced from $120 USD to $100 USD in the initial agreement.
Clause 5 of the contract agreement was made clearer when parliament amended the contract, August 9 2017, by stating that “The price for the e-passport is $100 USD or the equivalent in Leones, which could be reviewed periodically based on the inflation rate in the country.”
Netpage has nothing to do with the printing of the national Passports, Mr. Shallop maintains. All the company does is to collect money from the sale of Passports on behalf of De La Rue.
Jamel Shallop maintained that he is a seasoned business man but people are unfairly targeting him instead of celebrating his successes as a business person in the country and a patriotic one. He said he was born in Blama Massaquoi and has been in business for a long time now contributing to the local economy which makes him different from those fly-by-night investors who would not risk their businesses.
Mr. Shallop said he hopes for the better as the country’s plummeting economy is beginning to come to sanity following the government’s recent de-dollarization effort.
On that note he said because import is mainly done in foreign hard currencies in this country, it affects the purchasing power of local business people who buy commodities abroad to sell back home and same could be said on the asking price of the e-passport.