The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has dedicated a new annex for the Division of Passport valued US$100,000.
The new facility, according to Foreign Minister Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan, is his administration's way of improving on the quality of the facility which, by extension, is a measure to improving the quality of services being rendered by the Passport Division.
During the dedicatory service, the Foreign Minister stressed that the Passport Section is critical to the success of the Liberian Government.
Thanking his Deputy Foreign Minister for Administration and the Director of Passports and their staff for the hard work that led to the new annex of the Division, Minister Ngafuan stated: "Now, we are opening a new facility that will provide conduciveness. A crowned environment is not good for our people."
He also stressed the importance of a better Passport Division customer-service which, he emphasized, is the means of the Ministry's direct interaction with the people.
"The place we interact directly with our people is through passports and visas... ... When they come in the Passport Section and go through a set of treatment for better or for worse, whether they are going to praise us or curse us usually comes from how they are treated in the Passport Section," Minister Ngafuan observed.
He, therefore, promised to work on logistics within the constraints of the Ministry's budget which includes motivating passport staffers and rotation in the Passport Section as well as cutting down on the time involved in acquiring passports which he said was the Ministry's way of reducing excuses.
The new facility includes an entrance-ramp which physically challenged persons can use and a well air-conditioned sitting place for applicants.
Monday's dedication of the annex now leaves the Division of Passport with a well furnished air-conditioned waiting room for VIP's and senior or elderly citizens, private improved booths for finger-prints and computerized photo-taking, and an installed inter-com to announce names of applicants which will subsequently avoid them from standing around in the division's corridors, among others.
Speaking earlier, the Director of Passports Madam Tennema Deline described the annex as a dream come-true: "This has been a dream of the Passport Division. We will try to do our best, but only with the help and support of our people, not condemning us and pulling us down. As much as we can do, we will do."
Hailing Minister Ngafuan for his farsightedness, Director Deline added: "When you came here, you said you will do something and you've done something now. So, I say thank you."
Deputy Foreign Minister for Administration, Una Kumba Thompson who presented the project was among earlier speakers.
The Deputy Foreign Minister for Administration also added her voice of appreciation to the Foreign Minister for his determination to improve passport acquisition and delivery at the Passport Division.
"When you first came here, you made the Passport Division a priority. Not only did you seek to expand it, but you also talked about the welfare of the employees and you went so far in increasing their allowances which is worthwhile," Deputy Minister Thompson said.