Securiport, a reputable American technology firm, signed a contract with the Government of Sierra Leone in March 2012 to provide traveler, airport, and civil aviation security systems. Currently, Securiport also provides similar systems that have been operating for a number of years in Senegal, Ivory Coast and many other nations worldwide.
Securiport’s systems are the most advanced in the world and are provided within the frame of a comprehensive civil aviation security service. Besides the biometric identification of travelers and a number of security features installed in the airport, they provide all the elements to identify potential criminals attempting to enter or leave the country on commercial flights, applying advanced artificial intelligence methods.
But the Government is not required to make any of the investments the project demands; it is Securiport who puts out the significant capital needed to provide and maintain the systems, including the costs of all required human, material, professional, and financial resources. Securiport’s permanent team in Sierra Leone includes 50 nationals and 6 expatriates who keep the systems running and provide training and technical support to the government officials who use them.
Under the contract, Securiport’s fees are to be collected from the very users of the civil aviation security services: the international airline passengers who are processed on arrival and departure. It is a procedure the Government has to implement: it has to ask the airlines to collect the fee from their passengers. This, however, has not happened and consequently the Government has become responsible for paying Securiport’s fees which have accumulated for a period of three and a half years. Meanwhile Securiport has spent and continues to spend large sums to maintain its contractual obligations in the country.
Securiport, in an already pressing financial situation in Sierra Leone, accepted a payment plan proposed by the Government in 2014, which forced the company to rethink and redesign its projections in regard to the contract. But no payment was made at the time, straining the company’s financial deficit even more. However, there are negotiations currently under way that are expected to resolve the problem and to result in the implementation of the collection of the company’s fee from international airline passengers, thus resolving the current financial crisis of the project.
Securiport has demonstrated its commitment to the nation. Unlike so many other foreign companies, Securiport stayed in Sierra Leone during the Ebola outbreak and consequent crisis, which started in 2014 and threatened the entire region, working shoulder to shoulder with the country, its people, and its Government, and continued to provide civil aviation security services uninterruptedly.