16 May 2017

Liberia: Birth, Death Certificates Generate L$12.4 Million

A fiscal report from June 2015 to July 2016 showed that the Bureau of Vital Statistics has generated L$12,393,500.00 in revenue for both death and birth certificates for the Liberian government through the Ministry of Health.

Despite such contribution to the state's revenue, the Bureau of Vital Statistics, which is responsible for the processing of birth and death certificates, is undergoing serious challenges which is causing setbacks for the processing of birth and death certificates at the agency.

The bureau, according to officials, is gradually been neglected by the ministry in the wake of lack of regular supplies of the necessary materials needed for the issuance of certificates.

According to the report covering June 2015 and July 2016, the bureau printed 25,740 certificates for adults including 13,760 males and 11,980 females

The report also revealed that the agency issued 6,380 certificates to young children on gratis because there is no financial cost attached to their certificates. These included 3,254 males and 3,126 females.

The report also highlighted that during the same period, the bureau issued the total of 808 death certificates to the public.

Of the 808 certificates during the period under review, the agency collected L$445,400.00 and was deposited into the government's account through the Ministry of Health.

The director of the Bureau, Mr. Solomon Barton has however, among other things named lack of consistent electricity, stationery and the bureaucracy in getting supplies and finance from the Ministry of Health as serious challenges for the department.

According to him, the department has however been neglected by the Ministry of Health despite it been one of the highest income generating departments at the ministry.

Speaking to journalists over the weekend in an interview at his office in Monrovia, Mr. Barton noted that it is the responsibility of the government to provide quality services to its citizens and as such, the need to improve various ministries and agencies of the Liberian government cannot be overemphasized.

Mr. Barton has meanwhile dismissed recent publication in the media that the bureau is intentionally strangulating citizens and extorting money from them before processing their certificates.

He said the bureau is operating under straight financial regulations and that there is no way that they will take money from citizens before processing their documents.

"The delay at the Bureau of Vital Statistics is due to challenges faced with electricity and stationery supplies," he added.

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