Mixed reactions greet increase in cost of Ghanaian passport acquisition

The increment in the cost of Ghana­ian passport acqui­sition announced by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration (MFARI) has been greeted with mixed reactions by a section of the public.

In separate interviews with the Ghanaian Times over the weekend, they called on the government to reconsider the decision or make sure stringent measures are put in place to ease the stress involved in acquiring a passport in the country.

• Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa
• Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa

According to the updated fees listed on the passport application website, the expedited application fee for a 48-page booklet has been increased to GH¢800.00, while the 32-page booklet will now cost GH¢700.00. Standard application fees have also been revised, with the 32-page booklet now priced at GH¢500.00 and the 48-page booklet at GH¢644.00 instead of the previous GH¢100.00.

The current cumbersome nature of acquiring a passport, Rob­ert Antwi, a pupil teacher, said favoured the activities of middle men popularly known as “gorro boys” who charge exorbitantly for their services.

“The passport I had expired and I applied online for a new one last December, I was asked to make my first appearance to begin the pro­cess at the passport office at Tema Station, Accra, in June 2024.”

“This is frustrating and what baffles me is how we cannot leverage on digitalisation to ensure a smooth and fast process for passport acquisition in this country. This increment must come with expedite and quality service,” he added.

Sitsope Apetorgbor, a student of the Ghana Institute of Manage­ment and Public Administration (GIMPA), urged the government to reconsider the increment, partic­ularly for students and children.

She said children were the future leaders and innovators of the country therefore ensuring they have access to affordable travel documentation.

By providing this exemption Ms Apetorgbor who is also the first female president of GIMPA’s chapter of the Graduate Students’ Association of Ghana indicat­ed that students facing financial constraints could afford to get passports without being deterred by any high costs.

Member of Parliament for North Tongu, Mr Samuel Okudze­to Ablakwa, in a post on his social media handles described the increment as untenable, due to the current high cost of living in the country.

He mentioned that parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee advised that the review be postponed until economic conditions improved but the suggestion was disregarded.

A taxi driver, Enoch Dzokoto, stated that the government must be sensitive to the needs of the populace instead of always finding ways to adjust prices of services upward.

This he said creates tension among the public, adding that poverty and unemployment were the main problems facing Ghana­ians which have also contributed to high crime rates therefore such increments only plunge the country into further crisis.

He said “Now we do not know what the next bad news will be again. We are always being slapped with high prices of goods and services, even the government will not have mercy on us. This is a wrong time for any kind of incre­ment. They should rather focus on improving services at the passport office so that we can understand we are getting value for whatever we are paying for.”

Gertrude Addison, a nurse, stated that though she could afford to renew her passport when necessary, the decision by the government to increase the cost of acquiring one was not necessary “at this time when almost every­body in Ghana is struggling to survive, it tells me that our leaders do not care about the welfare of vulnerable groups.”

“They should rather focus on fixing the problems people face just to acquire a passport in Ghana and also stop activities of ‘gor­ro boys’ before considering any increment.

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