The Foreign Affairs Ministry has said plans are in place to ensure that all regions in the country have offices to serve passport applicants.
The sector Minister, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, said the extension of services would ease the burden of some applicants who travel all the way to Accra to access their passports.
Speaking at the commissioning of a new passport office in the Eastern Region, the Minister cautioned middlemen who often extort monies from passport applicants, to desist from such acts.
“Our ministry is also taking steps to secure office spaces from the regional coordinating council in the Upper East, Upper West and the Central Regions as well as the newly-created regions for the establishment of passport application centres in their respective capitals. With this commissioning, residents in the Eastern regions would be spared of the inconveniences of travelling to Greater or the Volta region to obtain a passport,” she said.
“I also wish to caution the public to desist from engaging in any fraudulent activities which would undermine the integrity of the Ghanaian passport, such as the use of forged documents in their application, these are punishable by law.”
There are already passport offices in some regional capitals.
Earlier this month, passport applicants in the Western and Central Regions were frustrated over their inability to have their passports processed.
This is because the only server machine at the Sekondi Passport Application Centre has been broken down for weeks now.
The Sekondi Passport Application Centre serves over five million population in the Western and Central Regions.
Passport acquisition in Ghana
The New Patriotic Party (NPP) government gave indications that it intends to make the process of passport acquisition in Ghana easy and efficient, a departure from what can best be described as one of the most frustrating processes to go through in the country.
Despite promises by successive governments to improve the process, many Ghanaians are forced to pay bribes, pay exorbitant charges through middlemen popularly known as ‘goro boys’ or queue as early as 3:00am each day to have their passport applications processed especially at the Accra application center.
The forms for regular application currently goes for GHS 50, and are expected to be processed within 4 weeks, while the forms for express applications are being sold for GHS 100, and are expected to be processed within 2 weeks, although the duration may slightly vary.