By Gifty Arthur
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, has commissioned the 13th Passport Application Centre (PAC) in the Central Regional capital, Cape Coast.
The event, performed on Friday November 20, 2020, comes exactly a week after President Akufo-Addo commissioned the Passport head office at Ridge in Accra.
The head office, is serving as a permanent office for Central Operations and Production ,where regional application centres are served.
In a speech read on behalf of the Minister, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey by a Deputy Minister, Charles Oweridu, said the commissioning of the facility, forms part of effort by the government to expand the scope of passport operations in the country.
The next regions to benefit from this initiative to have centres in every region are the Upper West and Northern regions where the Ministry, is looking forward to commission Application Centre and Premium Passport Application Centre respectively.
The Minister, noted that preparations are underway for the establishment of additional PACs in Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region and the rest of the recently created six regions namely; Bono, Ahafo, Oti, Western North, Savanna and North East regions.
According to her " This is in line with government policy of bringing passport services to the doorsteps of Ghanaians and it is ample demonstration of government's commitment to good governance through decentralization and de- concentration of essential public service".
She deemed the event as an important milestone which signifies a new era not only for the people of Cape Coast and Central Region but Ghana in general.
The sector Minister posited that having technology as a driver and an enabler for change, has cause the Ministry to leverage the boundless limits of technology to enhance the efficiency of passport operations in general for improved service delivery.
Madam Ayorkor Botchwey, indicated that her outfit adopted government's digitization agenda by automating the process of acquiring passports through the online application system.
"The online application system is a complete departure from the old manual application system which was beset with challenges ranging from overcrowding at PACs, improper completion of forms, interference of Middlemen among other flaws".
The Minister, while expressing confidence in the officials of theCentre, to deliver efficient and quality service to applicants, urged them to be respectful of all who come their way to seek the services of the office.
She thanked all who contributed in diverse ways to make the establishment of the edifice successful and urged the Regional Coordinating Council (RCC) , to continue to support the Office in it's operations when needed.
It is also envisaged that, the establishment of the Central Regional application centre, would unleash more opportunities in the supply chain where the youth, especially and also school leavers can take advantage and set up their own small businesses.
The Central Regional Minister, Kwamena Duncan, said passport is each citizen's constitutional right which must not elude him or her, simply because the means to acquire them is unavailable.
He said this right must be enjoyed by all who desire them, adding when such a system is not accessible, then it would have been better, if it wasn't guaranteed at all.
Mr Duncan, regretted that a very important region like the Central Region until now could not boast of an application centre for passport.
He recounted the hustle residents had to pass through by traveling all the way to the national capital, Accra where in most cases the process is unsuccessful.