MP backs passport decentralisation
A Member of Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, Mavis Nkansah Boadu, has backed government’s decision to roll-out passport offices across the country to facilitate the acquisition of the travel document by Ghanaians.
“I believe this idea is praise worthy. We have had so many situations where people have had to travel from different parts of the country to Accra to secure a passport. The decentralisation initiative, I believe, will eradicate such practices,” she said.
Ms. Boadu, who is also the Member of Parliament for Afigya Sekyere East, made these comments on the floor of the Parliament when she contributed to the debate on the 2017 budget statement presented to Parliament.
According to the budget, the Foreign Affairs Ministry is expected to open four new passport application centres in Upper East, Upper West, Eastern and Central regions and an additional one in Tema to serve the Greater Accra Region and enhance service delivery.
The legislator believes that the decentralization of the processes will help to eliminate the self-styled passport agents, otherwise known as “goro” boys in the system.
“The role of middlemen known as ‘goro’ boys will be eradicated alongside the fraudulent activities that are involved in our passport acquisition processes,” she add.
Ghana announced in May, 2016 that it was moving away from issuing biometric passports to a chip-embedded ones to its citizens globally.
The adoption of the biometric passport is to enable the country meet international standards, as well as make it possible for Ghanaians in the diaspora to acquire passport from Ghana's 57 missions and consulates worldwide.
The new initiative means Ghanaians with the current biometric passport would be required to upgrade to the chip-embedded passports which can be acquired locally from any Passport Application Centre.
The Foreign Affairs Ministry has also launched an online passport application service that is currently available to applicants in Accra.