BREAKING: Passport fee increased to Ghc500 and Ghc800 respectively

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Breaking news: Passport fees soar to Ghc500 and Ghc800. Stay informed on the latest developments regarding this significant increase.

The proposal put forth by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration has led to a significant increase in Ghana passport application fees, with some fees soaring by over 500 percent.

Formerly, the standard application fee for 32-page passports stood at GH¢100, but it has now surged to GH¢500, while the expedited application fee for the same has escalated from GH¢100 to GH¢640. Similarly, the fees for 48-page passports have seen a substantial rise, from GH¢150 to GH¢644 for standard applications and from GH¢150 to GH¢800 for expedited ones. The Ministry unveiled these revised prices on its official website.

Following the unveiling of the new fees, there has been a wave of surprise and backlash from various quarters of Ghanaian society, especially online. The Ministry, however, defended the fee hikes, asserting that they would render the printing of passport booklets more economically viable. Foreign Affairs Minister Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey reiterated this stance during her address in Parliament, emphasizing the necessity for Ghanaians to bear realistic costs for passport services.

Moreover, Minister Botchwey expressed dismay over the prevailing corruption within the Accra passport office. To tackle this issue head-on, she announced the removal of all staff seconded to the office as part of an effort to purge the system of corruption. Additionally, she pledged to launch a thorough investigation into the conduct of personnel stationed at the Accra passport office.

Instances of corruption and inefficiency at the passport office have not been uncommon, as highlighted by various complaints from citizens. For instance, a recent report recounted a man’s experience of being compelled to either wait in a lengthy queue or pay a fee of GH¢85 for instant service.

The drastic increase in passport application fees has stirred a mixed response from the Ghanaian populace. While some acknowledge the rationale behind the fee hikes, citing the need for improved services and infrastructure, others express concerns about the financial burden it imposes on citizens, particularly those from low-income backgrounds. Critics argue that such steep fee hikes could potentially disenfranchise segments of the population, hindering their access to essential travel documents.

Furthermore, the issue of corruption within governmental institutions, exemplified by the situation at the Accra passport office, remains a pressing concern. The Minister’s decisive actions to address corruption are commendable; however, there is a need for sustained efforts to root out systemic corruption and ensure transparency and accountability within public service agencies.

In conclusion, while the increase in Ghana passport application fees aims to streamline processes and improve service delivery, it has ignited debates regarding affordability, accessibility, and the need to combat corruption within governmental institutions. Moving forward, it is imperative for authorities to strike a balance between cost recovery and ensuring equitable access to essential services for all citizens. Efforts to curb corruption must also be intensified to foster public trust and confidence in governmental processes and institutions.

Source: Myjoyonline


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