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86,000 printed passport booklets gathering dust at Passport Offices

Yaw Osafo-Maafo, a Senior Presidential Advisor.

Eighty-six thousand printed passport booklets are gathering dust at the Passport Offices across Ghana because applicants have failed to collect them.

The refusal by passport applicants to collect them comes at a great loss to the Government since it subsidises each passport printed by more than 70 per cent.

For instance, there are 8,000 uncollected printed passports in the Takoradi Office, 8,696 in the Cape Coast Office and 19, 500 in the Accra Office.

Mr. Yaw Osafo-Maafo, a Senior Presidential Advisor, announced this at a media briefing in Accra on Wednesday, to update the public on the Public Sector Reform for Results Project (PSRRP).

Mr. Osafo-Maafo, who also has an oversight responsibility over the Public Sector Reform Secretariat, therefore, called for comprehensive research to ascertain why people were so anxious to apply for passports and later refused to collect them.

“It’s a big problem and you can’t even understand it,” Mr. Osafo-Maafo said.

Currently, a 32-page leaflet Ghanaian passport costs GHc500 after a legislative instrument allowed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration to increase from GHc100.

Detailing the achievements of the Public Sector Reform for Results Project (PSRRP), Mr Osafo-Maafo said the World Bank provided a credit facility amounting to $35 million in 2018 for the PSRRP.

However, he said, the project was restructured within the period July to December 2021, which reduced the amount to $24 million to cover 13 Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

The Financing Agreement was signed on November 12, 2018. It was intended to improve efficiency and accountability in delivering selected services by selected entities.

The beneficiary institutions were Driver Vehicle and Licensing Authority, Passport Office, Births and Deaths Registry, Public Services Commission, Office of the Head of Civil Service, Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice and Monitoring and Evaluation Secretariat.

Other institutions were the Public Sector Reform Secretariat, ministries of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Local Government, Decentralisation and Rural Development, Transport and Environment, Science Technology and Innovation.

The funding for the PSRRP was also to strengthen the capacity and organisational management of the beneficiary institutions and expand access to public services by the citizenry.

Mr. Osafo-Maafo,for instance, stated that the funds enabled the Passport Office to purchase biodata equipment for capturing the biometric data of passport applicants.

That, he said, enabled the Passport Office to clear the backlogs of unprocessed applicants which significantly improved the passport application ecosystem.

Since August 2023, Mr. Osafo-Maafo said, the Passport Office processed and printed about 700,000 passport applications including 100,000 passport application backlogs as against the annual average target of 500,000 printed booklets.

On efficiency at the DVLA, he said, the 33 operational centres of the Authority were offering standard services to clients and had reduced the vehicle registration time per day from six hours to two hours.

Also, the production of driver’s licenses increased from 700 to 2,500 per day in 2022, while the backlog of driver’s licenses reduced from 76,000 to 8,455 as of March 2024.

The Public Services Commission, he said, also conducted 510 interviews using the video conferencing facility while the Office of Head of Civil Service cleared backlogs of 14,657 staff promotions using the video conferencing facility for the interviews.

Source: GNA

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