Acquiring a passport in Ghana is a nightmare
Feature Article of Saturday, 23 March 2013
Columnist: Boateng, Kwame
You need to apply for a Ghana passport?
Be at the processing center between the hours of 6.00am and 8.30am else your application would not be accepted. Don’t take my word for it, that was what I was told when I arrived around 11.00am at the passport processing center (located at the old ministry of foreign affairs building and just behind PMMC ) in Accra and was turned away.
I have heard horrific stories of the torture people have to go through before they can acquire a new passport. People have to queue for hours before they are attended to. At any rate, you know what they say, you never really know how bad something is until you actually experience it. If you are reading my article, I hope you would not have to apply for a new passport anytime soon. But then, you just might have to get your passport ready, because at the rate things are deteriorating in Ghana, you may have to consider voluntary economic exile soon.
Today, I was extremely angered by the lack of professional responsibility on the part of the Ministry of Interior, under whose arm passport applications fall. How do you expect old men, old women and the rest of the populace to start forming queues by 6.00am just to get a passport. And most annoyingly, turn people away after 8.30am. Can you imagine all the man hours that are lost just because people, who are paid with tax payers funds, lack the professional capacity to carry on their assigned duties or are just negligent.
My questions to the Minister of Interior is this (1) what is the bottleneck in the passport application procedure that is causing such long queues at the processing centers ? (2) Why is it that the bottleneck has not been removed for over 3years now ? How much money would be required to ensure that a few more processing centers are opened nationwide?
If the Minister had not been sleeping, I am sure he would have made life a lot easier for passport applicants. What further annoys me is the fact that the good people of Ghana are made to pay for these passports. Regular and express processing cost GHC 50.00 and GHC 100.00 respectively.
Now it appears nothing works in Ghana. The only policy that works effectively in Ghana is the Mahama led dumsor dumsor policy 101. There is constant interruption of water supply, persistent lack of adequate supply of gas for cocking(people have been known to bribe gas attendants so that they would be attended to when a consignment arrives), and yet the only action that seems to be coming from the government is the renaming of facilities and the organization of pilgrimage for pastors.
Seriously, nothing appears to work in Ghana anymore and that is why I feel it is necessary to get my travel documents in order. They frustrate us when we try hard to cope in Ghana, and yet when we try to leave this God forsaken country the Ghana government frustrates us too. By the way, if you think I am being political in my write-up, think again, I just want to have a decent standard of living. Basis necessities such as constant power, water, gas, etc is not too much to ask.
So Mr Minister, stop sleeping on the job and start facilitating the rapid processing of passport applications so that people like us who have had enough can leave.
Kwame Boateng firstname.lastname@example.org