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28.08.2005 Diaspora News

Ghanaian Grieve Over Cost Of Passport

Emmanuel K. Asiedu

Mr. Lawoe Lawrence, a long time resident of Beirut has complained bitterly about the cost of making new passport through the Ghana Consulate General in Lebanon.

According to Mr. Lawoe, he went to the Consulate sometime this year to ask for the procedure and the cost of obtaining new passports for his twin infant daughters and was told it will cost him $200 (two hundred US dollars) each. Shocked with the news, he left the consulate without further ado. “People are known to be making new passports at the cost of $50 (fifty US dollars) through friends or relatives at home, why should it cost this much at the consulate?” He lamented to some fellow Ghanaians, but no one could give him a satisfying answer. He later raised the issue during a meeting between the Consul General H.E. Mr. Michel Haddad and the Ghanaian Community at the Pentecost church Bourj Hammoud last April.

“Whatever I do or any amount I charge at the consulate is not of my own decision, I receive my instructions from the Consulate in Cairo, Egypt,” Mr. Michel Haddad said to the anxious crowd in reply of Mr. Lawoe's query and invited him (Mr. Lawoe) to pay him a visit at the consulate for further proof.

However, Mr. Lawoe decided to leave the matter for the executive committee of the Ghanaian Community to sort it out with the Consulate.

Finally a visit was paid to the consulate by the Acting chairman of the community, Mr. Albert Atta, and also by some prominent members of the community on August 23 and 24 respectively, during which the Consul General confirmed his claim with a letter from the Consulate in Cairo.

It appears that the cost of obtaining or renewing a passport is not that much costly as thought earlier, but the posting system by DHL which cost $35 (thirty-five US dollars) from Beirut to Cairo and $57 (fifty-seven US dollars) from Cairo to Beirut is the cause of the peak.

Ghanaian migrant workers in Lebanon who unlike their counterparts in western countries receives meager salaries has joined in Mr. Lawoe's cry and voiced their concern.