Mr Paul Evans Aidoo, Western Regional Minister, on Wednesday inaugurated the Sekondi-Takoradi Biometric Passport Application Centre (PAC)on behalf of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration at Sekondi.
In an address he read for Alhaji Mohammed Mumuni, he said the Centre was to ensure the smooth processing and issuance of Biometric Passport in Sekondi-Takoradi, adding that the Centre would eventually be responsible for issuing passports in the Western Region.
Alhaji Mumuni said similar centres have been inaugurated in Kumasi and Sunyani and expressed the hope that the remaining centres in Ho and Tamale would be completed soon.
He said it was the objective of the Ministry to establish PACs in all regional and districts capitals to make it less cumbersome for citizens to apply for and obtain passports.
Alhaji Mumuni said Ghana was now fully compliant with the directive of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) for all member countries to migrate to machine readable passports by April 2010.
At the same time, Ghana has complied with the requirement of ECOWAS for member states to adopt the Biometric Passport to promote a uniform regime for the free movement of persons in the Sub-Region, he said.
Alhaji Mumuni said the present passport would continue to remain valid for travelling until November 2015 when it would cease to be valid.
He said the Biometric passport has been introduced to improve the security and integrity of the Ghanaian passport; adding, “Its superior security features would eliminate the fraud associated with the old passport regime, including identity theft and the nefarious activities of the so-called “Connection men”.
Madam Betty Busumtwi-Sam, Deputy Western Regional Minister, urged citizens to acquire passports for national identification purposes, database for birth and death registry, electoral purposes, registration of SIM cards and Population and Housing Census.