Acquiring a Ghanaian passport: are we rewarding corruption

Feature Article Acquiring a Ghanaian passport: are we rewarding corruption

Akua Adobea (not the real name) is a Ghanaian with a passport and quite an extensive travelling experience, anytime she has to renew her passport she begins to panic.

Akua said the process to acquiring a Ghanaian passport or even to renewing it is always a “headache” “You definitely must know someone or be willing to part with quite an amount of money if you want it smoothly.”

On the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is a detailed explanation of how one can acquire a Ghanaian passport. The website also lists all the documents needed for first time applicants and for renewal.

However, on the ground is a different ball game.

Akua says she noticed that her passport was going to expire in June 2023 and since she had plans to travel later on in the year, she purchased an online application in February.

“I had to wait till April to get my bio-metric data captured, I could only get a date in mid – April for that purpose,” she said.

Akua said on the day of the said appointment when she was supposed to get her bio-metric data captured, she waited for close to four hours to get to her turn to just take the photographs and her fingerprints.

“It was an uncomfortable process, as I sat there waiting, I saw people who came in to do it swiftly, I kept wondering what was happening,” she said.

Akua said her acquaintance on the other hands who said he wasn’t ready to go through the ‘tiring’ process had someone who charged him 1800 cedis and in three days his passport was ready.

She said after her biodata was taken, she was given a month to pick up her passport but “that was only a formality.”

“I waited three more weeks after the appointed date of passport pick to visit the Accra Passport Application Centre (PAC), there I was told that the passport wasn’t ready, in fact the officer at the counter told me that they were now printing November 2022 application.”

Akua said what baffled her was the fact that her acquaintance who was willing to pay himself through the process got his passport in three days, “in fact, his contact at the passport office called him after three days to pick up his genuine passport, whereas I do not know when I can get mine.”

The government in the year 2018 launched Ghana’s digitization agenda which among others sought to digitise Government services, build a biometric National Identity register, deploy a digital property addressing system, mobile money interoperability and institutionalise paperless port operations among others.

The digitalisation programme is grounded on a number of institutional establishments with specific responsibilities collectively aimed at the provision of efficient services to business and citizens.

A lot of people take to social media to commend services which have improved and become efficient with regards to providing services to the average Ghanaian.

Somehow it seems that the Passport application process is not improving.

Akua asked: “Is the passport application process rewarding corruption?” it seems that those who pay their way through the process are favoured while those who follow laid down procedures are punished for being law abiding.