With an atmosphere depicting some level of economic depression for the government, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dee-Maxwell Saah Kemayah, Sr., has announced the resumption of some vital services that will enable applicants to obtain Apostille or Letter of Authentication, Laissez Passer and Article of Incorporation to help boost revenue collection in the country.
Announcing the resumption of the services Thursday, March 25, 2021, during a briefing with Foreign Ministry officials and the Liberian media in the C. Cecil Dennis Auditorium at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Minister Kemayah declared that these services in relation to obtaining Article of incorporation, Apostille and Laissez Passer resumed Friday, March 26, 2021.
According to a Foreign Ministry release, Minister Kemayah disclosed that the services are now resuming after a Joint Administrative Regulation was developed and signed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP).
The new Joint Administrative Regulation also stipulates that a fee of United States Five Dollars (US$5.00) for a Corporate Blue Jacket shall be paid at any Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) Booth.
Minister Kemayah further said the regulation compels an applicant for an Apostille or Letter of Authentication to pay the amount of US$25.00 and US$10.00 for a Laissez Passer.
“No individual or business, corporation, company or institutions desiring any of such services is to channel their payments or channel the request for any such service through any staff, individual or official of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; not even me as Minister of Foreign Affairs. Don’t channel your request or payment through me,” Minister Kemayah stressed.
Meanwhile, the Foreign Minister said the moratorium which was earlier placed on the issuance of Laissez Passer remains in force unless for emergency cases where such applications will be reviewed on a case – by – case basis and where appropriate, such request will be authorized by the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
“We want to use this medium to extend our thanks and appreciation to Minister Samuel Tweah and [LRA] Commissioner General Thomas Doe-Nah for their support and cooperation as well as coordination which [have] been manifested in the pronouncement we are making today,” Minister Kemayah acknowledged.
He said as a result of strong collaboration and cooperation between both entities, the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs developed a joint administrative regulation which was placed into a Gazette based on the approval of President George M. Weah, adding that the regulation was published in a Gazette by the order of the President.
The Foreign Minister then recalled that a little over a month ago, he took the necessary actions to suspend these services in order to put in place the appropriate mechanisms and regulation that will ensure that Liberians are getting the required taxes or fees on these services so as to get the much needed revenue captured.
He stated that the resumption of these services will go a very long way in giving a boost to the contribution of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the national budget of the Republic of Liberia.
Minister Kemayah further revealed that under the regulation, all fees for the services will not be paid at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, noting, “They will be paid at any Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) booth.
He said following any payment for a service, the applicants will receive flag a receipt from LRA and submit same to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for authentication before the needed service can be delivered.
Minister Kemayan emphasized that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will absolutely not receive any payment / fee(s) for processing corporate documents through any of its employee, staff or official of the Ministry.
The joint administrative regulations were read by the Chief of Protocol of the Republic of Liberia, Ambassador Jervis A. Witherspoon.
According to the Joint regulations, applicants are to proceed to the Liberia Business Registry (LBR) with the Articles of Incorporation for billing and payment of corporate and filing fees to obtain the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) receipt.
“Absolutely no document(s) will be finalized without the revenue receipt for a corporate fee and corporate jackets(s) respectively,” said Minister Kemayah.
“After review, once all requirements are met and certified; documents will be processed within One (1) to Two (2) working days. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs reserves the right to verify any document from its source/applicant; and to reject any such document which the Ministry considers not genuine based on verification.”, the Joint regulation mentioned further.
According to the release, applicant must first prepare the Articles of Incorporation and print two copies of the Articles of Incorporation on legal papers.
A review of the document(s) will be undertaken, and after clearance, a bill for payment of the fees will be issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The joint administrative regulation also indicates that an applicant must submit a written and signed letter to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, requesting either the apostille or authentication letter or the letter should state where the document is being used or sent.
According to the joint administrative regulation, a processing fee of United States Twenty-five Dollars (US$25.00) for each document is only to be paid at any booth of the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA), and original of the revenue receipt should be attached to each set of documents to be apostilled, adding that no request and or payment for an Apostille shall be received on behalf of an applicant through an employee, staff or official of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
As for the procedure for obtaining laissez passer, the regulation says an applicant must send in a written request for a laissez passer, addressed to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and that the request should state the emergency and where the person is traveling.