The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration has opened a “Biometric Passport Application Centre” in Tokyo, the capital city of Japan, as part of efforts of government to improve passport acquisition by Ghanaians leaving in the Diaspora.
Addressing a ceremony on the margins of the official participation of President Akufo Addo and his delegation at this year’s Tokyo International Conference on African Development (Ticad 7), at the premises of the Ghana mission in Tokyo, Japan, to officially inaugurate the new Biometric Passport Application Centre, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, said the new Centre will serve as the hub for Asia.
“Our Embassies in China, Malaysia, South Korea, Australia, and India will transmit their applications for printing in Tokyo” Minister Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey said.
In addition to the Centre, the Foreign Minister noted that a mobile pack has also been secured in addition to the main printing machine in Tokyo. The mobile pack she noted will be “permanently stationed in Wanju, China, for transmission of biometric applications to Tokyo for printing”.
“With the addition of the Tokyo mission to the satellite mission processing of passports, it is my fervent wish that the equipment will be put to maximum use” the Foreign Minister said.
Review of Passport Fees
In her address, the Foreign Minister indicated that the President of the Republic Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo has directed a review of passport application fees across board. The process to execute the President’s directive she said has kicked started.
“We are in the process of doing this but it takes time because there are processes to be followed. One major process which must necessarily happen is for it to go to Parliament because it is Parliament that approves fees and charges. We are hoping that Parliament will approve the reduction of Ghanaian passport fees. This is something that I think you should look forward to” Madam Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey stated.
Respect for the Ghanaian Passport
The Ghanaian Passport according to the Foreign Minister is increasingly becoming a powerful travel document as many countries continue to sign visa free agreements with Ghana. She entreated Ghanaians to be mindful of this and treat the Ghanaian Passport with utmost respect and pride.
“We need to have high regard for our passports. Through the efforts of the President of the Republic, we have an increasing number of agreements with different countries which permit Ghanaians to travel to their territories without visas. I there say that there are prospects for more of such visa exemptions for all Ghanaians but much will depend on our country” the Foreign Minister commented.