General News of Friday, 2 November 2018
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration has advised Ghanaian passport applicants to use the online application service following complaints of a shortage of the paper-based (manual) passport Application Forms at commercial banks.
The online application service is available at – https://www.passports.mfa.gov.gh/ or https://www.passport.mfa.gov.gh.
The online application service is part of an e-Government strategy, which is targeted at ensuring the use of information technology to provide citizens with efficient and effective passport services through a secure, fast and convenient means.
It is also aimed at injecting efficiency and reliability in passport service delivery and eliminate the existing difficulties that have bedeviled passport acquisition in Ghana.
In a statement issued in Accra on Thursday November 1, 2018, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it has followed public concerns that there was a shortage of the manual forms in the system.
It said the introduction of the online version [PDF] forms part of measures to make passport forms readily accessible to all Ghanaians and that from November 1, 2018, more focus is on the online version.
The online application service is anticipated to help reduce the involvement of middle men in the passport acquisition process; reduce typographical errors and shorten the data capturing procedures currently carried out at the passport application centres as well as speed up the work flow for the passport processing and enhance passport service delivery.
According to the Ministry, helping to eliminate middlemen popularly known as ‘Goro boy’s whose illegal activities have perpetuated bribery and corrupt activities within the passport acquisition processes, is one of the focus of the online system.
The general public by the new arrangement can still pay for the processing fee, GHC50 for regular and GHC100 for express, except that payment can only be made by an electronic means.
“The public is hereby to note that payment of the processing fee for the PDF form can only be made electronically”, the statement said, adding that payment can be made via mobile money (MTN, Vodafone) and Visa or MasterCard.
Shortage of Passport Booklets
The statement also said that the Ministry in its quest to forestall the frequent shortage of passport booklets is assisting the Passport Office to adopt a number of steps including improvements in procurements as a way of arresting the situation.
The Ministry expressed concern about the delays in passport processing, which has been identified as most applicants’ inability to provide accurate and verifiable data or information.
“The ministry therefore entreats all applicants to ensure information they provide on the application form is accurate to ensure speedy processing of passports”, the statement pointed out.
It warned that applicants would be held liable should it turn out that they provided misleading information.
The Ministry, the statement stressed was equally worried about the significant number of completed passports which have not been collected.
It added that all applicants who applied before September 15, 2018 but have not collected their passports can check from the Ministry’s website www.mfa.gov.gh, the list of uncollected passports and make plans to collect them.
“The Ministry is also appealing to Ghanaians to endeavour to apply for a Passport when they have need for it”, the statement counselled.