Ablakwa urges parliamentary ratification on e-passport

Okudzeto Ablakwa, the Member of Parliament (MP) for North Tongu in the Volta Region, has asked the Ministers of Transport and Foreign Affairs to seek parliamentary ratification on issues over the Electronic Passport (e-passport).

He said the two ministers would have to explain why Parliament was not engaged in the entire processes.

“Without parliamentary ratification, all the statements issued by the Ghana Airports Company will take us nowhere because the only project Parliament is aware of the chip-embedded passport which the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey announced last week,” Mr Ablakwa cautioned.

He maintained that the business of e-passport was not before Parliament and not supported by proper procedure and there was no parliamentary ratification and hinted of hauling the two ministers before Parliament to answer questions on the government’s plan to approve of the use of the National Identification Card (Ghana Card) as an e-passport.

Mr Ablakwa said the government’s intended plan was problematic, given that it had failed to seek parliamentary ratification and intend to summon the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Mrs Botchwey and Kwaku Asiamah, the Minister of Transport to inform the House exactly what was going on.

“We intend to summon the two ministers to tell us exactly what is going on because we are likely to initiate some steps at the plenary and file an urgent question after we have demanded a thorough briefing and we will insist the right thing is done,” the lawmaker stressed.

The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) had earlier denied approving the Ghana Card as an e-passport contrary to suggestions by the government and in a thread of tweets stated it was not its responsibility to certify the use of a state’s identity card for international travel in place of a passport and clarified any decision to accept such alternative travel identity document is made by the receiving state itself.

The ICAO’s clarification followed reports by sections of the media it has officially approved the Ghana Card to be used as an e-passport at a special ceremony at its headquarters in Montreal, Canada, due to series of processes, which commenced last year.

But Dr Gideon Boako, Spokesman for the Vice President, pointed out that Ghana had officially undergone the processes of making the Ghana card certified as an e-passport and ICAO’s explanations should be ignored.

“Ghana has crossed this stage with respect to the Ghana card, making it officially certified as having the right qualities to be admissible by receiving countries as e-passports subject to country-to-country bilateral agreements,” he said. –citinewsroom.com

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