Ministry secures office space for Upper West Passport Office

Wa Airport

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration has secured office space from the Regional
Coordinating Councils in the Upper East, Upper West and Central Regions for the
establishment of Passport Applications Centres (PACs) in those regional capitals.
Madam Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, the Minister
of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, said the Head Office of the
Passport Office was soon to be relocated to make way for the construction of
the National Cathedral; stating that a new property had been allocated to the
Ministry to be used as the new Passport Head Office.
She said the Ministry continues to discharge
its mandate as outlined in the Passports and Travel Certificate Act 1967
(N.L.C.D. 155).

She said in carrying out its functions, the
Ministry works in collaboration with other relevant ministries, departments and
agencies (MDAs) such as the Birth and Death Registry, Controller and Accountant
General’s Department, Ghana Immigration Service and other Security Services,
all of which have representatives stationed in the respective PACs across the
country.
Madam Botchwey said this, when she took her
turn at the Meet-the-Press Series in Accra, to present the Ministry’s
achievements and to deliberate on matters of national interest.
She said over the past two years, the
Ministry had embarked on a number of initiatives to facilitate the process of
passport acquisition for Ghanaians.
She noted that among these initiatives were
the online passport application; downloadable Portable Document Format (PDF)
Passport Application Form.
Others are extension of Passport
Applications Centres (PACs) to eight regional capitals; the establishment of
the Premium Passport Application Centre; overhauling of passport processing
equipment; extension of the validity of passports from five years to 10 years;
and the provision of premium services among others.
Additionally, there were plans to introduce
48-page passports to satisfy the needs of frequent travellers before the end of
this year.
“I believe most applicants will now attest
to the improvement in the passport service delivery. We are not there yet but
we are making impressive progress,” she said.
“The Ministry has started discussions aimed
at introducing chip embedded passports to keep up the pace of technological
advancement and enhance the security of Ghanaian passports.”
She said seven Ghana Missions abroad,
namely, Berlin, London, New York, Washington, Pretoria, Abuja and Tokyo,
process and issue biometric passports to Ghanaians in the Diaspora.
“To further minimize the bottlenecks
associated with the acquisition of biometric passports some Missions adopted
the mobile enrolment of passport applicants in the course of the year,” she
said.
“The Ministry has also earmarked the
following Missions for the extension of the biometric passport service: The
Hague, Moscow, Paris, Oslo and Brussels in Europe; Beijing and Riyadh in Asia
and the Middle East respectively; Addis Ababa, Rabat and Dakar in Africa;
Brasilia in South America as well as Canberra in the pacific.”
She said domestically, two additional
facilities have been operationalized to provide online passport application
services in Tema and Koforidua metropolis.
She said the Ministry periodically holds
media briefing on the passport acquisition to increase public awareness on the
appropriate processes and procedures in acquiring passports in Ghana and
initiatives being introduced to ensure timely delivery of passports.
She said the Ministry also reaches out to
public through the various social media platforms; adding that currently, with
regard to online applications, Accra PAC processes 250 applications daily while
the Premium PAC processes 400 applications daily on the average.
She said Tema and Koforidua process about
200 applications per day.
She said the intention was to roll out
online passport application platform in all the regional PACs.
She said the ultimate plan was to phase out
the manual forms by the end of 2019.
She said the Passport Office had been
selected by the World Bank as one of the key public service agencies to receive
support to procure necessary logistics such as additional printers, cameras,
scanners, fingerprint scanners, signature pads, servers, furniture and
computers among other things to enhance service delivery.
“I am very optimistic that by the time we
successfully conclude implementation of this World Bank project and other
initiatives, Ghanaians will be enjoying stress free and efficient passport
service delivery both at home and abroad,” she said.

GNA

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