Passport Office must wake up! The Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration Minister, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, recently came out tough on the Passport Office, accusing some officials of collecting money illegally before processing passport documents.
She asked a category of officials seconded to the office not to return to their posts at the passport offices.
In fact, the process of acquiring or renewing a Ghanaian passport is difficult.
The Passport Office as an institution needs overhauling to make it serve its purposes.
With the introduction of the online application procedure, Ghanaians were sure that things would change for the better, particularly, with the expedited service category.
The online process is fraught with irregularities; applicants go through an unnecessarily long and cumbersome process in order to acquire or renew a passport.
People are bypassing the system to have their passports issued, all because the system is not efficient and effective because of corruption.
Why will one go through the expedited service for a passport renewal, and even pay for the delivery of their passport and not get it on the scheduled date?
And yet, nobody calls them to say a word as to why and how the delay in issuing the passport.
Passport Office must wake up!, This is absolutely unacceptable.
My scenario: On May 4, 2023, I put in an application to renew my passport.
I was given an appointment date of June 21, 2023 to have my bio data captured.
I used the premium application centre (PAC) and reported on the scheduled date to have my bio data etc., captured.
I used VIP counter and paid extra for that, including delivery fees.
I was supposed to have received my passport on July 25, 2023. To date, I have not received my passport, and nobody bothered to call me to explain why the delay.
I called twice and the response was that it was not ready and that was all.
How can that happen?
Am I not owed any explanation?
The practice: Two colleagues of mine who applied much later than I did have received their passports in no time, because they circumvented the process by using “some people who matter”.
I could have used the same means, but I wanted to test the system this time to see its effectiveness.
In the past, I spent less than a week to renew my passport by using my contacts without even paying anything apart from the prescribed fees.
If the passport office knows it cannot issue passports and deliver same, why does it allow people to go through the expedited service and charge extra for that?
Can the passport office say that since the time I and other applicants of my ilk, who applied and used this process, the office had not issued any passports to any applicants who applied much later than us?
This poor approach to doing things is a disincentive to the success we crave for and rather makes people to always circumvent the process whenever they need services rendered.
The country will lose revenue that would have been generated, with an inefficient system.
People would rather get services through third parties, who pocket sums collected, paying little or nothing at all to the state.
Passport Office, please wake up from your slumber.
Note that you owe Ghanaians, like myself, a duty to good and unhindered service delivery.
Passport Office must wake up!
Legal Manager/Company Secretary,
Graphic Comm. Group Ltd,