The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration is seeking to increase Ghana’s passport acquisition fee from GH¢100 to GH¢644.
Madam Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, the sector Minister, explained that the deficit in the printing of passport booklets was preventing the Passport Office from making the necessary investments to ensure efficiency.
“…Ghanaians pay just about GH¢100 for a passport. To produce one passport booklet, it costs GH¢400, which means that for every passport that an applicant acquires, the Government has to put in GH¢300 and this is not sustainable,” she said.
Speaking on the floor of Parliament before the approval of a GH¢1.127 million budget estimate for the Ministry, Madam Ayorkor Botchwey said the Committee on Subsidiary Legislation was considering the proposal.
“On the cost of passports, it is not sustainable, therefore, I will plead with this honourable House to look at the issue for us. It is already before the subsidiary legislation committee, and I’m hoping that Ghanaians will pay realistic prices for passports,” she said.
“At the moment, passports don’t serve as IDs, we have national ID cards. Therefore, those who need passports are those who need them to travel, and I don’t think that they would want us to continue to subsidize it.”
Per the report of the Committee on Foreign Affairs on the 2024 budget estimates for the Ministry, a comparison of Ghana’s passport fees with that of other West African countries shows the rate of $7.7 is the lowest within the sub-region.
The report said Cameroon charges $180, Guinea $57, Guinea-Bissau $65, Burkina Faso $80 and Nigeria $54.29.
Touching on the backlog of passports, Madam Botchwey said the Ministry was in the process of securing a giant printer to expedite the process.
Mr Kwaku Ampratwum-Sarpong, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration had earlier justified the proposed increment in prices of passports, citing production costs and the current affordability compared to other countries in the West Africa sub-region.
He said there were ongoing discussions with Parliament to finalise the approved fees.
He bemoaned the low price Ghanaians paid for a passport; as low as eight dollars, compared to other neighbours who paid about 40 dollars for the same service.
Mr Ampratwum-Sarpong, the Member of Parliament for Mampong, said there were plans to introduce chip-embedded passports in the second quarter of 2024 to enhance security in line with the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s standards.
“Liberia charges $50, we charge $8, meaning we have to subsidise every passport. So the money to buy the printers is used to subsidise the passports,” he noted.
“Also, we are thinking of upgrading our passport from biometric to chip-embedded. So the chip-embedded version is going to cost more.”
“If we continue charging $8, we will continue to face the problems that we are having at the passport office… So we have to raise the fees.”