The New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament (MP) for Afigya Sekyere East has called on government to make the passport acquisition process less cumbersome for applicants.
Mavis Nkansah Boadu who spoke on the floor of Parliament during discussions on the 2017 budget Monday said the current process makes it difficult for Ghanaians both home and abroad to acquire passport related services.
Passport offices are usually crowded with hundreds of people some who have waited for months to process their passports.
The problem has become complicated with the presence of some middle men popularly known as ‘goro boys’ who arrange to speed up the process for clients at a fee.
The previous National Democratic Congress (NDC) introduced an e-passport process which limited waiting time as well as eliminated the queuing process at the Passport Offices.
Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta told Parliament during the presentation of the 2017 budget that; government will be opening four new passport application centres in the Upper East, Upper West, Eastern and Central Regions.
An additional office would be opened in Tema to serve the Greater Accra Region, he added.
Mr Ofori-Atta also said government will upgrade biometric passport production equipment which have been installed at the country’s embassies in Germany’s Berlin, US’ New York, and Washington DC as well as South Africa’s Pretoria.
Mrs Nkansah Boadu who has experienced such difficulty in the US in 2016, expressed confidence the decentralisation of the processing announced by government will solve the problem.
“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 added.
She also believes fraudulent activities of the ‘goro’ boys would be eliminated if the decentralisation process is completed by government.
“As a member of the foreign affairs committee, I am privy to some of the ideas that the passport director have on board. And he has promised me that passport acquisition will no longer be seen as a privilege in Ghana but as a right of every Ghanaians citizen,” she said.