The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ms Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, yesterday inaugurated a passport application centre in Tema as part of the ministry's quest to decentralise the application processes across the country.
Satellite offices, she said, had become necessary to ensure that the Passport Office rendered efficient and convenient services to members of the public.
The Tema passport application centre, which started piloting the process from April 8, 2019, has so far processed some 1,029 applications, with 500 of them issued with passports already.
The minister told the Daily Graphic in Tema last Wednesday that extending the application centres to all regions was intended to overcome the challenges that had become accustomed to the passport application process.
The Tema centre, located within the premises of the former Internal Revenue Authority (IRS) offices at Community Four, near the Creator School, is expected to serve the Tema, Ashaiman, Dodowa and Ada communities.
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The acquisition of a passport, the minister said, should not be a difficult task to do once the applicant was a Ghanaian.
"Therefore, the goal is to ensure that the application process is decentralised at the convenience of the public so as to make accessibility easier,” she said.
The ministry, Ms Botchwey said, had taken steps to secure office spaces in the Upper East, Upper West and Central regions.
Additionally, diplomatic missions in London, Berlin, Washington DC, Pretoria and Abuja were currently issuing biometric passports to Ghanaians in their respective jurisdictions, including countries of concurrent accreditation, the minister announced.
"In the medium term, the ministry has earmarked missions in The Hague, Moscow, Paris, Oslo and Brussels in Europe, and Beijing and Riyadh in Asia and the Middle East respectively for the extension of the biometric passport services," Ms Botchwey added, emphasising that the long-term goal would be to make the country's missions abroad process biometric passports, with regional printing hubs located in various regions.
The Member of Parliament for Tema Central, Mr Kofi Brako, expressed delight at the opening of the centre, which he said would also go to reduce pressure on the existing centres in Accra.