President Akufo-Addo's nominee for the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Shirley Ayorkor Botchway has said she will make the process of acquiring passports in the country easy if cleared by Parliament to be the minister.
But speaking to Citi news, the Anyaa-Sowutuom Member of Parliament said she will work towards ensuring that the institution runs effectively.
“We'll be ensuring that processes that Ghanaians go through that has something to do with the foreign ministry will be smooth processes such as the acquisition of passports and visas and all of that, there is a lot of work there than needs to be done and we are going to do our best,” she said.
The Director of the Passports office, Alexander Ntrakwa recently complained about massive bribery and corruption that bedevils the office.
Many applicants in their desperation to acquire passports in the country, illegally pay huge sums of money to unauthorized facilitators, popularly known as 'Goro Boys', to by-pass the tedious bureaucratic processes in acquiring the national identification document. But applicants have also accused passport officials of deliberately making the process cumbersome, a situation that compels applicants to pay bribes.
Mr. Alexander Ntrakwa, who assumed office as the Director in August 2014, said he was once threatened by a 'goro boy' who said his only means of survival that takes care of his family was that business.
“[Goro boys phenomenon] has been so over the years and they don't see any reason why somebody will come and rock the boat. When I came here, some of them were so confident to come and tell me that this is the business that they have done to take care of their children through University education so why have I come to destabilize them. That is why we have the hue and cry about the passports office.”
Most Ghanaians seeking to acquire passports especially in the capital, Accra, queue at the passport office at dawn and spend long hours before being attended to. It sometimes take more than two months before applicants receive their passports.
'Ghana launches online passport application'
Ghana in December 2016 launched an online passport application service, aimed at easing the mode of application of passports for Ghanaians while ensuring maximum security for applicants.
The introduction of the system was also to prevent the activities of 'goro boys' in the passport application process that often results in defrauding of innocent Ghanaians.
Ms Hanna S. Tetteh, the then Foreign Affairs Minister, said the service was inherent in the e-Government strategy.
By: Jonas Nyabor/citifmonline.com/Ghana