Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, has said that the Ghana Card is not a substitute to the country’s biometric passport, for the purpose of international travels.
According to her, the Ghana Card only complements the passport and could not be used as a travel document on its own.
“Mr Speaker, the Ghana Card is not a replacement to our current biometric passport. The Ghana Card may serve as an optional travel document to be used in tandem with our biometric passport.
“It must be underscored that the passport, together with the travel certificate are the only approved travel documents for Ghanaians that are internationally recognised,” Ms Botchwey told Parliament, in Accra, yesterday, in Accra.
The minister was responding to a question asked of her by the Member of Parliament (MP) for Salaga South, Ms Zuwera Mohammed Ibrahim.
The MP wanted to know “whether Ghanaians no longer need passport and whether the Ghana Card now represents a passport”.
Ms Botchwey’s clarification comes months after the Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, at a lecture at Ashesi University, said Ghana Card would be recognised as an electronic passport in 197 countries by 2022.
“The Ghana Card will be recognised as an e-passport and can be read and verified in all [International Civil Aviation Organisation] ICAO compliant borders (in 197 countries and 44,000 airports in the world). When this happens, holders of the Ghana Card will be allowed to board any flight to Ghana,” Dr Bawumia said.
But, Ms Botchwey stated that for the card to be recognised as a travel document, bilateral agreements would have to be reached with other countries.
“Mr Speaker, at the moment, the Ghana Card cannot be used for travel to other countries either within or outside of ECOWAS as that would require bilateral agreements with those countries for their authorities to accept the card as a travel document. The ministry is in active discussion with ECOWAS member States and our bilateral partners to achieve this,” she said.
Ms Botchwey, however, said: “Ghanaian and dual national holders of the Ghana Card would be able to travel to Ghana using the Ghana Card.”
BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI