The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration has put a proposal before Parliament to review the current charges for passport application from GH¢100 to GH¢400.
The proposal, which is currently being considered by the Committee on Subsidiary Legislation, is to enable the ministry to curb losses in the printing of passport booklets.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, who made this known in Parliament on Thursday, said “It is time for Ghanaians to pay realistic prices for passports they acquire to travel beginning next year.
She said it due to financial constraints prevailing in the economy, it had come to a point where it was no longer “sustainable” for the state to continue to subsidize passports.
“Ghanaians pay just about GH¢100 for a passport yet 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.
The minister stated this ahead of the approval of the GH¢1.127 million budget estimates for her ministry.
Other countries’ charges
Per the report by the Committee on Foreign Affairs on the 2024 budget estimates of 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.
Speaking to Graphic Online’s Nana Konadu Agyeman outside the Chamber, Ms Ayorkor Botchwey said the current passport fees in Ghana were insufficient to cover production costs.
She stressed that the deficit in the printing of passport booklets was preventing the necessary investments in the Passport Office.
“Passports are no longer sources of identification as we all have our national ID. Therefore, anybody who needs a passport and actually applies and acquires a passport does so because they have intention to travel.
“So, if you are going to travel or you intend to travel and you cannot pay GH¢400 then it is unfortunate because even tickets are now expensive,” she said.
The minister also appealed to Ghanaians who were not in a hurry to travel to, “please do not go for passports”.
Dwelling on providing responsive services to applicants, Ms. Botchwey said Ghanaians had complained about the services and environment provided by the ministry at passport application centers.
To address such challenge, she said the ministry has provided applicants with options for consular services, passports, visas, or attestations.
“We have provided them with options to go to a premium centre where they pay a fee to the service provider in the comfort where they will be provided world-class frontend services,” she said.