Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee meets Ghanaians in New York

Ghanaians with Dual Citizenship do not need visas to travel to their country, provided they have valid Ghanaian passports, Ghana’s Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Mr. Ken Kanda stated.

“To this end, all Ghanaians in the USA, who want to travel home should ensure that they have valid passports before they do so,” Mr Kanda said during an interaction with the Foreign Affairs Committee of Parliament and the National Council of Ghanaian Associations in the United States (NCOGA), at the offices of the Ghana Mission in New York, at the weekend.

The explanation according to the Mission was to address concerns expressed by the council that some airlines had refused to carry Ghanaians who travelled on the American passports and dual citizenship cards.

The committee was in USA as part of a 10-day fact-finding tour of some of Ghana’s Missions to learn about their problems, meet the Ghanaian communities and to inspect on-going projects.

The NCOGA, which is the main mouthpiece of Ghanaians in the USA, also called for another look to be taken at the Legislative Instrument (LI) on Dual Citizenship in view of the difficulties they often encountered in its interpretation.

The association wants all Ghanaians, irrespective of when one became an American, to be given Dual Citizenship since the present Act stipulates that “any applicant who had no primary Ghanaian Citizenship as at 31st December 1996 is not qualified to be registered as a dual Citizen of Ghana”.

Led by Mr. Samuel Sowah, President of NCOGA, the association expressed concern about the inability of the Electoral Commission to register Ghanaians abroad during the recent Biometric Registration to enable them to exercise their franchise in this year’s election in Ghana.

Mr Sowah said it was a denial of their bona fide right as Ghanaians and urged the EC to look at the issue critically since their votes counted.

The association expressed concern about the long delays the various educational institutions took in processing transcripts of students, describing the present situation as sabotage and a smack of inefficiency.

The delays often resulted in students missing their academic programmes and wondered why it took more than a year for a university to produce a transcript after the payment of the relevant fees.

The council tasked Parliament to immediately ensure that the duties and taxes they paid on their imported items like vehicles were affordable, considering the fact that their contributions helped to cushion the economy and reduce the burden on Ghanaians.

The NCOGA praised the Ghana Mission in New York for being very supportive of the activities of Ghanaians in general and allowing the council to use their facilities.

On how the revenue from Ghana’s oil was being utilized by the government, Mr C. Ato Forson, a member of the committee and MP for Ajumako Enyan Essiam, took time to explain the Petroleum Revenue Management Act, saying that it was being judiciously used by the government, accounted for and published for all to see.

The chairman of the committee and MP for Krachi, Mr Samuel Osei Sarfo promised to take the views and concerns expressed to the appropriate Ministries, departments and agencies for the necessary attention.

He however urged” Ghanaians abroad to take pains to teach their children about the Ghanaian culture in order that they don’t get lost”.

Mr. Hackman Owusu-Agyeman, MP for New Juaben and Mr. Frank Boakye Agyiri, MP for Effiduase, both members of the committee took turns to explain the recent biometric registration process, duties on imported vehicles and voting rights to them.

The committee on Friday inspected on-going renovation works on the bungalows of the Ghana Mission in New York before meeting officers, as part of Parliament’s oversight responsibility.

Source: GNA

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