The government is considering reviewing passport fees upwards to help it break even and avoid the current losses incurred in the processing and production of Ghanaian passports.
Speaking at a press conference in Accra Wednesday, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Ms Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, said Ghana’s passports were highly subsidised making it the less expensive in Africa.
She said passport processing was a service that the government did not intend to make a profit on and indicated that it would be wrong for the government to continue subsidising the price for acquiring passports.
“So we are looking at it. We are in the middle of negotiations of some sort to see how much more we could charge to break even but not to make profit”, she said.
Ms Botchwey recalled that her ministry had announced that it would review the cost of acquiring passports outside Ghana downwards because there the cost was a bit high.
However, she said, “here (In Ghana) we are making a loss therefore there is the need for Ghanaians to pay realistic prices for passports but no decision has been taken on it yet.”
The current fee for expedited application us GHc100, while that of a standard application is GH50.
Online passport application
Ms Botchwey said the Ministry had overcome the challenges with manual application and had rolled out online application facilities at three passport application centres (PACs)- in Koforidua, Tema and VFS PACs – on experimental basis.
“Should we not encounter any internet challenges, the Ministry intends to roll-out online applications nationwide by the second half of the year, with the ultimate objective of phasing out the manual form of application by October this year”, she said.
Ms Botchwey ssid the online application format had the unique advantage of allowing applicants to choose the date and time convenient for them to present themselves at the PACs for their biometrics to be captured.
New passport application centres (PACs)
The Minister said It had been the decision of the President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, to bring passport service delivery as close to the doorstep of Ghanaians as possible.
Consequently, she said, the Ministry had taken steps to secure office spaces from the Regional Coordinating Councils in the Upper East, Upper West and Central Regions for the establishment of PACs in their respective capitals.
“It is envisaged that these new PACs will be established by the first quarter of 2020. Also, Passport services will further be extended to the newly created Regions in due course”, she said.
Ms Botchwey said and as part of this exercise, the Koforidua and Tema PACs began operations in April this year. I had the pleasure to commission the two PACs today, and it is important to add that these two PACs are for online applications only.
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