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Thursday, June 20, 2024

LIBERIA REVAMPS DIPLOMATIC PASSPORT SYSTEM AND EMBRACES DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION

Date:

MONROVIA – The Unity Party government, led by President Joseph Nyuma Boakai, took swift action upon taking office by recalling and re-issuing all diplomatic passports where necessary. This decisive move aimed to control the illegal issuance and misuse of Liberian diplomatic passports, which had been found in the possession of well-known international criminals. The previous administration’s negligence had led to the U.S. Department of State and the FBI arresting and investigating criminals, including Nigerians and ordinary Liberians, with these diplomatic passports. This made the intervention by the Boakai administration not only necessary but also timely.

To ensure that Liberia is represented effectively in other countries, the administration has reviewed and updated the Foreign Service Manual. It has also appointed a Foreign Service Inspector General and new Ambassadors at the country’s foreign missions. Additionally, the administration is exploring the possibility of issuing visas on arrival to facilitate trade and commerce. An MOU has been signed between the Liberia Immigration Service and the Ministry of Commerce and Industry to enable this, aiming to boost trade and tourism. These measures are also intended to restore the dignity and respect of Liberian diplomatic passports, which had been compromised by the previous government.

In March 2024, Liberia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Dean of the Cabinet, Madam Sara Beysolow Nyanti, announced the withdrawal of Liberian diplomatic, official, and service passports issued under the July 2023 Revised Passport Regulations. She reverted to the March 2016 regulations to enforce stricter control measures. With 20 years of experience working with the United Nations, including as Deputy Special Representative and Resident Coordinator to South Sudan, Madam Beysolow Nyanti is on a mission to overhaul the nation’s Foreign Service.

The government is also focused on initiating a new National Development Plan and an Integrated Tax Administration System (LITAS) in collaboration with three commercial banks: Ecobank, GT Bank, and International Bank Liberia Limited. The Boakai administration plans to integrate LITAS with the Liberia Immigration Service, Ministry of Transport, and other ministries, including Foreign Affairs, Education, Mines and Energy, Labor, and the Liberia National Police. This integration aims to transition these entities from manual to automated systems.

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