US$90M Required to Train Security

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As the drawdown and departure of peacekeepers with the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) looms, the urgency to train more security personnel has intensified.
In the absence of the UN peace-keepers, the government is expected to train over 3000 officers of the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization (BIN), soldiers of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL), the Liberia National Police (LNP) and other security personnel in order to effectively man the country’s porous borders and decentralize security operations.
To achieve this plan, according to Finance and Development Planning Minister Amara Konneh, the amount of US$20 million already allocated in the budget for security training was not nearly enough to meet the overall objective of security take-over from UNMIL.
Minister Konneh, who is a core member of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s Economic Management Team, has disclosed that the funds required for the training will by all means be increased to US$90 million.
The Minister made the disclosure on Saturday at a joint graduation program of over 300 BIN and LNFS personnel in Sinje, Garwula District, Grand Cape Mount County.
The BIN plays an important role in generating substantial revenues for the government, Minister Konneh, said pointing out that of the 2005/2006 fiscal budget, the entity generated US$300,000, while in this year’s budget, the bureau has contributed US$3.9m thus making an average of 25 percent increment to the budget.
He further remarked that the security sector is important to the economic growth of the country starting with the BIN.
Minister Konneh urged the BIN to continue its contributions to the rebuilding process of post conflict Liberia.
“Your job is not just to guard the borders, but also to ensure that the interests of the investors that are coming into the country to invest are protected, because they too are graciously contributing to the growth and development of the country through the budget,” he told the audience. The crowd became elated when Minister Konneh praised the BIN for their decent uniforms.
In his remarks, Vice President Joseph Boakai lauded authorities of the BIN and LNFS for their farsightedness in planning the training exercises.
Such training will reassure Liberians that the state security will provide total protection for the citizenry in the absence of UNMIL, said VP Boakai.
He urged the graduates to use the lessons learnt by exhibiting a high level of professionalism in their assigned areas.
“In case of anything like civil unrest, it will be you who will first step in. The military should be the last line of defense because it is very expensive to use the military. This is why you were included to benefit from the first course of training,” the Vice President told the graduates with reference to the BIN.
The program brought together an array of government officials including the Minister of Education, George Werner, representatives of UNMIL, the African Union, Economic Community of West African States, among other partners.

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