The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration has announced a possible increment in passport application fees to address the challenges associated with its acquisition in Ghana.
The country has been battered with delayed printing for subsequent distribution of passports to applicants since last year, with a backlog of over 9,000 applications yet to be printed.
Normally, successful applications take between 6 and 12 weeks for regular service and a maximum of 4 weeks for premium service. However, some applicants are yet to receive theirs nearly a year after applying.
At a press briefing on Tuesday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the challenge emanates from limited printing machines and raw materials.
According to Hon Kwaku Ampratwum-Sarpong, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, the Passport Office has been unable to purchase more printers to augment the existing ones due to the subsidy it provides to applicants.
“We paying $8, meaning we are having to subsidize every passport. The money to be used to buy printers is used as a subsidy.”
He noted that an increase in the fee will be inevitable as the Ministry seeks to migrate from a biometric passport system to a chip-embedded one.
“We are trying to upgrade our passport from biometric to chip embedded so the chip embedded is going to cost more. If we continue sitting at the $8, we will continue to have the problems we are having at the passport office.”
He added, “We all need to pay the realistic dues to have the services that we expect.”
Currently, the Passport Office charges GHC200 for a 48-page expedited application; GHC150 for a 32-page expedited application; GHC100 for a 32-page standard application; and GHC150 for a 48-page standard application.