Ghana’s Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration Minister Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey has Commissioned a Biometric Passport Application Centre at the Ghana Embassy in Tokyo, Japan, as part of efforts to improve passport acquisition by Ghanaians living in the Diaspora.
Addressing a ceremony on the sidelines of this year’s Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) Ghana’s Mrs. 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,” she said.
Mrs. Ayorkor Botchwey said a mobile pack had been secured in addition to the main printing machine in Tokyo, which would “permanently be 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,” she noted.
The Minister disclosed that President 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 commenced.
“We are in the process of doing this but it takes time because there are processes to be followed,” she said. “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.”
The Ghanaian Passport, according to Ghana’s Foreign Minister, is increasingly becoming a powerful travel document as many countries continue to sign visa-free agreements with Ghana.
Ayorkor Botchway, therefore, entreated Ghanaians to be mindful of that and treat the Ghanaian Passport with utmost respect and pride.
“We need to have a 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,” she stated.