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Minority to push for the reversal of ‘draconian’ passport application fees – Ablakwa

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The Ranking Member on the Foreign Affairs Committee of Parliament and MP for the North Tongu constituency, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, has served notice that the NDC minority in Parliament will push for the reversal of the new passport application fees.

He described the new fees as “draconian” in reaction to the Foreign Affairs Ministry’s implementation of the new charges.

In a post on his Facebook profile, he wrote: “I am terribly disappointed in Ghana’s Foreign Ministry for the astronomical increases in passport application fees.

“As my NDC colleagues and I always maintained at the Foreign Affairs Committee, the current economic crisis and unprecedented high cost of living make it untenable to impose these draconian fees.

“We insisted at the Committee that the worst case scenario could be a graduated approach when economic conditions improve, but alas, they ignored our advice and have gone ahead to impose these insensitive rates in one fell swoop.”

draconian

“The Ministry should reconsider this inimical action immediately. We shall surely revisit this matter when Parliament resumes from recess,” he stated.

Background

The Foreign Affairs Ministry has increased the application fees for passport services from ¢100 to GHC500 for a 32-page standard and GHC644 for a 48-page standard booklet, effective today, Monday, April 1, 2024.

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.

The online passport application page of the Ministry has been equally updated to reflect the new fees.

draconian

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.

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.

“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.

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.



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