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General News of Sunday, 17 February 2008

Source: GNA

New passports in 2008 - Veep

Accra, Feb. 17, GNA- Vice President Alhaji Aliu Mahama said at the weekend that Government was ready to commit resources towards the issuance of new passports in 2009 in conformity with the directive of the International Civl Aviation Organisation.

"Ghana has a security problem with the processing of passports and is therefore committed to reverse the situation to conform with the directive in line with national interests," he said.

Vice President Alhaji Mahama expressed these views in London at a reception organised by the Ghana High Commission as part of his two-day official visit to the city.

He said the ruling New Patriotic Party was also interested to keep account of all national properties acquired by the country's first President, Dr Kwame Nkrumah in the Diaspora.

Dr Charles Brempong Yeboah, Deputy Minister of Foreign affairs, Regional Co-operation and NEPAD announced that the 2007/2008 budget had made provisions for the new passport.

He observed that that his sector Ministry had put in place the necessary mechanisms to check the fraudulent acquisition of passports by Ghanaians and non-Ghanaians.

The measures include the adoption of bio-metric passports, which has peculiar features such as finger prints and other personal features to make the country's passports distinct.

Dr. Yeboah said the process was being supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, National Security and other stakeholders. He said the era of acquiring fictitious passports was over. Mr Annan Cato, Ghana's High Commissioner in Britain said the European Union had come out with a citizenship protocol for its citizens

that made it difficult for non-EU members to get a job in Europe. He observed that the new order had placed restrictions on Ghanaian professionals, especially medical doctors and nurses, who had previously

had it easy to get employment in Europe. Mr Cato said the worldwide war against terrorism was also a factor. He said the situation had compelled a number of Ghanaian professionals to return home.

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