President Akufo-Addo, has performed a ceremony to commission an ultra-modern passport office on Friday in Accra.
In a brief speech, President Akufo-Addo, commended the "dynamic" Sector Minister, Ayorkor Botchwey, for her contribution towards the construction and completion of the edifice.
He was impressed with the work of the Minister in ensuring the transformation of the operations of the office under the Ministry and bringing to bare innovative ways in acquiring passports.
In what looked like a clear approval and appreciation of the Minister's work over the period, the President, turned to her by saying in the Ga dialect "You have done well".
The plush head office sited on the Gamel Abdul Nasser Avenue at Ridge near the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ) and the British High Commission, is a three level purpose-built edifice, with ancillary facilities such as a meeting room, cafeteria for staff and a well-structured record and archival room among others.
It is expected that the new edifice, will provide the most conducive and enabling environment for both staff and prospective applicants
The acquisition of passports, has been made easy and brought to the doorsteps of Ghanaians, following the establishment of Passport Application Centres in some regional capitals namely Kumasi, Tamale, Koforidua, Tema Hope, Takoradi and Sunyani, as well as Premium Passport Application Centres (PACs) in Accra and Kumasi to provide expedited services.
There are also processes in place to renovate all existing regional Passport Application Centres, to give them a facelift and improve service delivery.
Two other PACs will soon be commissioned in Central Regional capital Cape Coast and Wa in the Upper West Region. The two events which will be held in the coming days, will also include a new Premium Centre in Tamale.
Already, the Ministry has extended biometric passport services to Ghana's Diplomatic Missions abroad and so a total of 22 of such Missions, will commence the issuance of biometric passports by the second quarter of next year, 2021.
In a speech, the sector Minister, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, said the commissioning of the office is as a result of critical reforms and interventions taken by the Akufo-Addo government to significantly transform the operations of the Passport Office.
The continuous transformation has helped eliminate business of middlemen notoriously known as goro boys, who until recently paraded at the environs of the Office searching for desperate applicants to do business with by charging them exorbitant fees.
"We have successfully implemented the online passport application system, thereby phasing out the manual application system, which hitherto was the norm.
These interventions have eliminated all the difficulties associated with acquisition of passports, notably turnaround time for delivery of passports, document fraud and middlemen popularly known as goro boys".
Madam Botchwey, was particularly concerned about the security and integrity attached to the Ghanaian passport, saying it is the responsibility of every citizen to guard the passport application process and not yield to certain unscrupulous people who scheme to undermine the integrity of the document.
"We need the cooperation and support of all stakeholders to protect the sanctity of our passports". She admonished the management of the new office to preserve and properly maintain having invested scarce resources into it establishment.
She expressed immense gratitude to the Chief of Staff, Akosua Frema Osei Opare, who played major role in the allocation of the site and its refurbishment and also the Consultants, Architectural and Engineering Services Limited and a few others.