Sierra Leone introduces E-Pass to businesses

The Government of Sierra Leone and their partners have introduced an Electronic Pass (E-Pass) Management System to give businesses operating during the COVID-19 pandemic access to transport, food and other essential goods in and out of districts across the country.

The E-Pass Management System was created by the Directorate of Science, Technology and Innovation (DSTI) in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MoHS), Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) and Niche Solutions as part of an integrated ICT response to COVID-19.

According to DSTI, the COVID-19 National Response Emergency Operational Centre (EOC) will issue E-Passes to individuals and organisations that offer essential services and functions that are necessary during the COVID-19 pandemic. Essential services include goods and other supplies which Sierra Leoneans need to survive, such as medical supplies, food, public works (electricity and water), telecommunications and gasoline.

The DSTI Director, Michala Mackay, said the electronic issuance of passes was created to make work easier for the EOC to process requests and authorise the movement of essential goods and service providers during the COVID-19 lockdown and curfew in a transparent and auditable process. 

Michala Mackay stated, “We are mobilising tech resources from within our existing ecosystem to provide government and citizens with the tools they need to stop the spread of the pandemic while mitigating the impact on essential services.”

E-Pass applications will be processed within 12 hours of submission and within 6 hours for emergency requests. An SMS will be sent to approve or reject the application.

The system can only be used by the individual or vehicle whose name and registration number appear on the pass. Security officials at inter-district and other checkpoints will carry out verifications using USSD and other mobile solutions.

Meanwhile, the tech group announced that a consortium of public and private technology experts will continue to develop tools that would enhance and strengthen existing systems to support the government efforts in response to COVID-19.

The Government of Sierra Leone announced an indefinite extension of the previous lockdown and curfew a day before the 14-day lockdown was due to end. The government declared the lockdown in order to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus, which has killed four Sierra Leoneans this week.

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For E-Pass inquiries, contact: +232-55-117117

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