General News of Thursday, 12 October 2017
Mr Prosper Afetsi, President of the Foundation for Generational Thinkers (FOGET), said the porous nature of the country’s security systems was indicated by foreigners acquiring Ghana’s passports.
He said while Ghanaian citizens faced a lot of challenges and frustrations in acquiring passports, as one rights, foreigners, through middle-men, acquire the passports and other national ID’s with ease.
A statement signed by Mr Afetsi and copied to the Ghana News Agency in Accra identified the acquisition of Ghana’s national and international documentations as becoming so easy that other Africans arrested in Europe were in possession of these very vital national security documents.
The statement said the inability of our institutions to properly document citizens from birth to death has therefore made it possible for non-citizens to acquire such documents with the collusion of employees of these national agencies.
It said, in view of that, acquiring a birth certificate in Ghana has become very cumbersome and a ‘gold mine’ where some officers demanded cash from applicants.
The statement urged government to put in place a structure that would automatically create social security numbers for citizens, right from birth to sanitize the system.
According to the statement, Mr Afetsi said the country could disable the activities of middle-men when it automatically creates the social security number for its citizens right from birth.
It said application fees for passports had been pegged between GH¢50 to GH¢100 for normal and express applications but middle-men charge between GH¢500 to GH¢1,000 to acquire the same passports for applicants.
The statement said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration recently, announced the removal of all impediments that hamper passport acquisition, yet the Ministry’s claims do not reflect the true picture on the ground.
It said the true picture was that there were still middle-men interfering with the passport acquisition process, which delayed and denies qualified applicants from getting access.
The statement also identified the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) as another frustrating institution that government should critically look at.
“It seems everything about Ghana is becoming more frustrating if one wants to do the right thing, without cutting corners,” the statement added.
It said though, he admired the frantic effort being made by President Akufo Addo and the National Identification Authority (NIA) to rebrand the national identification card, he believes that the country could only make a headway if the acquisition of all national and international identification cards were centralized.
The statement said terrorism especially on the West African coast were on the rise and were therefore absolutely necessary that the authorities knew the where about of every citizen.