April 24, 2024

Amidst criticisms from Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, the Ranking member on the Foreign Affairs Committee of Parliament, Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Kwaku Ampratwum-Sarpong asserts that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration will not reconsider the recently adjusted passport fees.

In response to Ablakwa’s pledge to demand a review of the fees upon resumption of Parliament, Ampratwum-Sarpong maintains the Ministry’s stance, asserting that the revised fees are here to stay.

“If he wants us to come to the committee, we will respect the committee, we will appear before the committee, we will repeat the reasons behind the request and the approval given by parliament for the passport fees,” he said in an April 3 interview with Joynews.

“These figures with the support of the majority of Ghanaians have come to stay. There is nothing he can do about it. He can make his noise out there. If he wants to bring it to the committee, to Parliament, we will meet him on the floor of Parliament. We will discuss it, we will debate it, and at the end of the day, he will fall flat on his face,” the deputy minister stressed.

He defended the fee hike, stating that the increased charges are essential for generating revenue to enhance service delivery at passport offices nationwide.

“We would have money to be able to invest to buy the equipment, the printers, and whatever other stuff that we need to be able to give excellent service.

“With the cash revenue flow, it will become possible for us to approach the suppliers of this equipment and materials and whatever that we need in our work.

“So once we get more computers, once we get more laminating machines, once we get more capturing machines, we will be able to capture more biometrics and therefore the six months, seven months, or eight months appointment days would be reduced.

“At the moment, it is out of control because we don’t have the capturing machines. We do have some but it is not enough,” he added.

The adjustment, effective April 1, raised fees for passport applications from GH¢100 to ¢500 for the 32-page booklet and to ¢644 for the 48-page booklet under the standard service.

Amidst public outcry over the new price, Samuel Okudzeto who is the Member of Parliament for North Tongu has suggested that the fees be reviewed as it adds on to the already excruciating burden of Ghanaians.

“It is a matter we will revisit. We will summon the Ministers and officials from the Ministry to see what can be done because this is really terrible. It is going to add on to the already excruciating hardship and anguish that Ghanaians are going through,” he said.

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

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