Parliament justifies passport fee hike; says it reflects true costs, not profit-making


By Rashidatu IBRAHIM

Amid public outcry over the recently revised cost of passport acquisition, Dr. Andy Appiah-Kubi, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of Parliament, has clarified that the newly adjusted fees reflect the actual costs of the passport application process, rather than being a means for the government to generate profits.

Addressing the press in Accra, Dr. Appiah-Kubi explained that the decision to increase the passport application fees was driven by the high costs associated with processing the documents, including expenses for equipment, additional services, and the limited number of service centres across the country.

He emphasised that the move is part of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ efforts to streamline and improve the passport acquisition process, aiming to ensure transparency and efficiency.

Dr. Appiah-Kubi elaborated on the process behind the fee adjustment, stating that it followed discussions in Parliament, where lawmakers questioned the need for government subsidies in passport acquisition. As a result, the ministry proposed a fee adjustment, which was later reviewed and approved by Parliament’s Subsidiary Legislation Committee.

According to Dr. Appiah-Kubi, the ministry provided detailed cost breakdowns, revealing that the production of one passport booklet costs GH¢400, with an additional administrative cost of about GH¢100, leading to the decision to set the fee at GH¢500.

“The ministry did not just come to us for a review of the rates. It was through debates in the House of the Parliament that parliamentarians disagreed with this notion of subsidy that if it is not a requirement for proof of citizenship, why do we have to allocate budgetary funds to subsidise passport acquisition and, therefore, we encouraged the ministry to find more pragmatic ways of covering the cost of passport acquisition.

“The ministry had to come back to Parliament through Ministry of Finance with proposals urging us to approve for them to also review passport rates. They came to Parliament with this proposal of GH₵700; and that was when the referral was made to our committee on subsidiary legislation that we agreed to reduce it from GH₵700 to GH₵500,” he elaborated.

He expressed hope that with the implementation of the new fee, the ministry would be able to invest in necessary equipment and improve passport processing efficiency. Additionally, he mentioned the ministry’s plans to establish more application centres across the country to reduce the inconvenience and costs associated with travelling to the main passport office in Accra.

Dr. Appiah-Kubi acknowledged the public’s concerns and apologised for any inconvenience caused by the sudden fee adjustments. However, he emphasised the necessity of the changes, citing the evolving landscape of identification and citizenship verification, with the introduction of the Ghana Card as the primary means of identification.

He also highlighted that compared to other countries in the West African sub-region, Ghana’s passport acquisition fees remain relatively low, with some countries charging significantly higher fees for passports that have shorter validity periods.

In conclusion, Dr. Appiah-Kubi reiterated that the fee adjustment was a collaborative decision endorsed by all members of the committee, aiming to cover the actual costs of passport production and enhance the efficiency of the passport acquisition process.

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