Mr Kwabena Owusu Akyeampong, Administrator; Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications (GIFEC) has called on authorities at the Passport Office to institute measures to eliminate the disturbing role of middlemen, also referred to as “goro boys” in the acquisition of passports.
He noted that the parading of goro boys as passport contractors is increasingly making acquisition of passport difficult and burdensome to most applicants as the average Ghanaian spends several weeks to months in their quest to acquire a passport.
“This problem must be eliminated in order to restore confidence in the system,” Mr Akyeampong stated during the presentation of 75 desktop computers, 75 UPS, and ten scanners worth GH₵ 233,625.00 to the Passport Office through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration in Accra.
Mr Akyeampong noted that the provision of the equipment was to aid the department to clear the backlog of unprinted passports; “I will urge that every effort must be made to rid the system of middlemen.
“You must also remove the so-called protocol officers who take monies from individuals not related to the institutions to facilitate their applications”.
He said the support is also towards Government’s effort to roll-out electronic passport application system in the country.
It is part of Government’s broad measure to promote the use of Information and Communication Technology in the public sector, he stated.
“GIFEC believes that in partnering with the Ghana Passports Office, we will help make the process of passport acquisition a seamless one, the onus is also on the Passport Office to create a foolproof systems that ensure that applicants can be guaranteed dates for the issuance of passports.
“That way they will not be compelled to seek the assistance of middle-men,” he said.
The GIFEC Administrator noted that the donation is to augment the equipment base of the Passport Office and help prevent delays in the passport issuing process.
“GIFEC supports plans by the Passport Office to collaborate with the National Identification Authority in creating a major database that can be used by all relevant institutions and help to resolve the complexity of acquiring various national identification documents,” Mr Akyeampong stated.
He noted that the time has come for Ghana to have a maintenance policy to solve the worrying menace of the poor maintenance culture bedeviling the nation.
“This growing canker is tearing apart very important institutions and unless we resolve as a people to have a mandatory maintenance policy that works, we will continue to invest money that otherwise could be used for other developmental projects in acquiring new equipment at short intervals.
“I pray your esteemed outfit will become the example of a good maintenance culture, to depart from the worrying trend,” he said.
Mr. Alexander Grant Ntrakwa, Director Passport Office who received the items expressed appreciation to GIFEC the gesture and said the importance of these equipment to my office in terms of delivery cannot be underestimated. This will aid the Passport office to come up to speed with modern trends.”
Mr Ntrakwa noted the deployment of the online system of application will begin by the end of the year to afford authority the opportunity to provide service to Ghanaians even in their respective homes.