Accra, May 22, GNA - The Passport Head Office in Accra is to be moved to a new location in the course of the year.
Madam Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, said a new property had already been allocated to the Office and was undergoing renovation.
Madam Botchway said this at a news briefing on Wednesday in Accra after she had commissioned two Biometric Passport Application Centres (PACs) in Koforidua, the Eastern Regional Capital, and Tema in the Greater Accra Region.
She said the Passport Office continued to be saddled with uncollected passports; stating that "about 20,000 printed passports spanning the period 2010 to 2018 remain to be collected across the country".
"Attempts were made to publish the names and passport numbers of some uncollected passports, but this seemed to have infringed on Data Protection Laws of the country," she said.
"The Ministry is, therefore, discussing alternative methods of informing the public on uncollected passports."
Madam Botchway said the Ministry was also considering a home delivery service option to reduce the incidence of uncollected passports.
She said changes initiated by the Ministry had started yielding positive results such as easy access to manual passport forms - Ghanaians are now able to download passport forms at their pleasure without having to go to designated banks to purchase the forms.
Easy online payment system, either by mobile money transfer or visa card and more PACs were now offering convenient online services.
Others are that passport applicants could now have access to very important personality (VIP) facilities at an extra cost and reduction in the service of ‘goro boys’.
She noted that most importantly, the waiting time of applicants for new passports had reduced to not more than 21 days for normal service and nine days for expedited service.
"We will continue to improve on service delivery to the Ghanaian public," she said.
Madam Botchway said moving into the future, the Ministry intended to introduce a 48-hour service for those who needed very urgent services.
"We believe that this will completely eliminate the use of middlemen or goro boys in the acquisition of passports," she said.