The operations of the Passports Office received a major boost yesterday, with the receipt of a large quantity of computers and accessories that would help to eliminate the delays associated with the acquisition of passport.
The equipment support package, offered by the Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communication (GIFEC), is to help the Office to revamp its operations across the country and clear the backlog of hundreds of passport applications.
In addition, it is to assist the Office to successfully roll out its Electronic Passport Application System.
Described by the Office as a “timely intervention,” the support package included 75 desktop computers, 75 UPS and 10 scanners and their accessories, worth GH¢233,626.
Presenting the package to the Office in Accra, Mr. Acheampong, Administrator of GIFEC, said his outfit had been concerned about the cumbersome nature of the country’s passport acquisition process, which has compounded the disturbing role of middlemen and passport contractors.
“This problem must be eliminated as a matter of urgency, in order to restore confidence in the system,” he said.
While believing that the provision of the equipment would help to clear the backlog of unprinted passports, he said “the onus lies on the Passport Office to create a foolproof system that ensures that applicants can be guaranteed dates for the issuance of passports.”
This he said would discourage applicants from seeking for assistance from middlemen and “protocol officers” who end up duping them.
Mr. Acheampong assured the office of further support, indicating that GIFEC was supportive of plans by the office to collaborate with the National Identification Authority in creating a common database that could be used by all relevant institutions so as to resolve the complexity of acquiring various national identification documents.
Alexander Grant Ntrakwa, Director of Passports, who described the donation as a timely intervention said it came at a time the office was scaling up efforts to clear the backlog and also deploy the electronic application system.
He said the equipment would be used to retool the operation unit at the head office and the regional application centres.
He believed that with the right equipment to support the system for application processing, it could take less than two hours to issue passports after the head office receives a processed application from the any of the application centres.
By Edmund Mingle