Parliament has ratified agreements on waiver of visa requirements between Ghana and five other countries for holders of diplomatic, official and service passports.
The countries are China, Seychelles, Sudan, Cuba, and Turkey.
The agreements were laid on the floor of the House on October 11, by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Hannah Serwah Tetteh, in accordance with Article 75(2) (b) of the Constitution.
They were subsequently referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs for consideration and report, pursuant to Order 183 of the Standing Orders of the House.
The Chairman of the Committee, Emmanuel Bandua, who presented the committee’s report on the agreements to the House yesterday, said Ghana had fruitful cooperation with the five countries over the years.
“Desirous of deepening relations between Ghana and the nations concerned and having regard to the need to facilitate improved interactions between citizens and officials of Ghana and the said countries, Ghana entered into separate agreements with the countries concerned at different times with the objective of waiving the visa requirements for particular passport holders,” he said.
Mr. Bandua observed that the improved interactions between the citizens and public officials of Ghana and the nations concerned, would facilitate the deepening of relations between the said countries.
“ “The committee observed that the agreements would particularly enhance government-to-government business and therefore recommends that they are implemented thoroughly after the ratification to deepen further bilateral relations between Ghana and the countries concerned,” he said.
Mr. Bandua noted that the agreements represented the extension of hands of deeper cooperation from sister countries, and added that the emerging trends in the world had necessitated the building of synergies and the strengthening of relations between and among nations.
He commended the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration for applying the principle of reciprocity, regarding the application for the ratification of the agreements.
He said the committee observed that the agreements did not impose any financial obligation on the parties nor obtain direct financial gains from their implementation.
“Besides, the agreements do not impose obligations on state parties to admit people who are considered to be of questionable character into their territories,” Mr. Bandua said.
On security, he said the agreements were restricted to holders of diplomatic and other official passports because such people were easy to manage, given the fact that they were often public officials whose background and conduct were within the purview of the public and, therefore, of the security apparatus of the state parties.
“The committee nonetheless recommends that the ministry, pursuant to the ratification, should work hard to ensure that our official passports processing system is improved and made devoid of all manipulations while ensuring that the other state parties make similar guarantees,” Mr. Bandua indicated.
“This will facilitate the possible roll-out of the facility to the entire mass of nationals of the state parties. This, in the view of the committee, will cement further the separate bilateral relations that exist between Ghana and the friendly nations concerned,” he said.
By Yaw Kyei