Ms. Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey????????????????????????????????????

The Foreign Affairs Minister, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey has pleaded with Ghanaians not to apply for a passport if they cannot afford the travel document. She said the Ghanaian Passport has ceased to be a primary identification document and, hence should not be acquired by all Ghanaians, especially if one does not have need for it. Mrs. Botchway said this in response to adverse public reactions to the increment in passport fees which took effect from April 1, 2024.

“The passport applicant pays GHC100, the state absorbs GHC300. It cannot be the case that it will continue, because it is affecting even our operations. And Ghanaians are complaining that it takes long to get a passport and all of that. If the government is subsidizing passports heavily, it is difficult to provide any good service to Ghanaians. I am asking humbly Ghanaians, that please if you do not have need for a passport and because you cannot afford one, please, humbly, I am asking you not to go for a passport,” she urged.

Per the newly implemented fees, applicants will pay GHC500 for a 32-page standard and GHC644 for a 48-page standard booklet. In the same vein, applicants opting for the 32-page expedited service will pay GHC700 and GHC800 for the 48-page expedited service.

The new fees were contained in the Ministry’s 2024 Budget estimates document, which has been approved by Parliament’s Subsidiary Legislation Committee. Speaking in an interview with Journalists in Accra on April 2, 2024, the sector Minister said once Parliament has approved the new fees, it is the only institution that can reverse the charges.

“Parliament agreed to increase it, so it’s been done. If Parliament decides that we should go back, we would have to look at it. It’s Parliament that decided and we go by what they decided,” Mrs Botchwey noted. Effective April 1, the online passport application page of the Ministry was updated to reflect the new fees. It would be recalled that in December last year, sector Minister Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey requested Parliament’s Committee on Subsidiary Legislation that the passport application fees be reviewed to allow the ministry to reduce losses in passport booklet printing.

“It is time for Ghanaians to pay realistic prices for passports they acquire to travel beginning next year,” said the Minister. “Ghanaians pay just about GH¢100 for a passport yet to produce one passport booklet it costs GH¢400 which means that for every passport that an applicant acquires, the government has to put in GH¢300 and this is not sustainable,” she added.

The Minister also argued that the current fee of $7.7 for the acquisition of a Ghanaian passport was the lowest in the sub-region. A comparison showed that Cameroon charges $180, Guinea $57, Guinea-Bissau $65, Burkina Faso $80, and Nigeria $54.29 for passport services. Meanwhile, the new fees as proposed by the Ministry received no objection at the committee level within 21 days, paving the way for them to go into effect.

By:  Eric Mensah-Ayettey

Benjamin Mensah

By Benjamin Mensah

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