Passports Are a Privilege – Andy Appiah Kubi justifies upward adjustment in acquisition fees

Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of Parliament, Andy Appiah Kubi

Story by: Gregory Pilkington Amoah

Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of Parliament, Andy Appiah Kubi has justified the bi-partisan decision to adjust the fees for passport acquisition from a Hundred to Five hundred Ghana cedis on an account that passports were hitherto considered as a primary means of identification, a situation which has since changed due to the advent of the Ghana card.

The Asante Akim North lawmaker thus posited that this led to a decision to place the burden of acquisition of passports on persons who needed it as opposed to government shielding the cost burden to alleviate the collective national responsibility of providing for a document which is now considered a privilege not a requirement.

The practice according to him had been that, Government subsidized the cost of passport application and acquisition because it had been used as a source document for proving one’s citizenship but in an age where the Ghana Card has been accepted by institutions in the country for the determination of one’s nationality, the Ghanaian passport has now been consigned to a traveling document.

He stressed that It has therefore become clear that about 80% of Ghanaians cannot continue paying for the needs of the 20% Minority to acquire passport.

Addressing the Press in Parliament, the former Ranking Member on the Subsidiary Legislation Committee responsible for passage of the Legislative instrument which affirmed these increments said the Foreign Affairs Ministry tabled LI 2184 before the Committee seeking to increase the cost of application for passports from 100 cedis to 400 cedis and include a subsequent 100 Ghana Cedis charge for administrative costs which includes printing of booklets amongst others.

He believes this 500 cedis charge cost which when spread over the 10-year duration of the passport’s eligibility will impose an average cost of 50 cedis per year on the passport applicant, a cost he believes is prudent owing to the prices of passports on the continent.

The lawmaker in his address further lauded the Minority Members of Parliament’s Subsidiary Legislation Committee on account that they had participated fully in all deliberations between the Committee and the Ministry in finding an amicable, bi-partisan and national interest driven solution to issue.;

Most of our members (Majority) are Ministers of State and therefore they don’t attend committee meetings frequently so I commend the minority side for always showing commitment in the work of the Subsidiary Legislation Committee “he said

When quizzed by the media on how the menace of ‘Goro boys’ and middlemen will be brought under control by the implementation of this directive, he added that the Foreign Affairs Ministry has assured that this upward adjustment i.e. Passport Application fees will further lead to the creation of additional application centers to lessen the stress associated with passport acquisition.

“The indication in the meeting is that if this proposal is adopted then the Ministry will have to open more application centers to cut off the cost of transportation to and from your destinations to passport offices for the processing of your passports” he added.

This comes on the back of heavy media coverage on the increment in passport application which the Minority Caucus in Parliament led by Ranking Member on the Foreign Affairs Committee Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa has vehemently opposed.

April 3, 2024

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