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29 June 2016

MP questions government over new Chip passport

passportA Member of Parliament for Okaikoi Central Constituency has questioned the decision of the government to replace the country’s biometric passport with a chip passport.

Patrick Yaw Boamah wonders if the Foreign Affairs Ministry has thoroughly considered the implications the change will have on Ghanaians.

“The ministry is moving at such a speed that on will want to ask why that nerve-breaking speed because it is not a requirement or it is not time bound for us to move quickly from the biometric to the chip passport,” he said.

The Foreign Affairs Ministry announced in May that starting 2017, Ghana will be issuing a chip-embedded biometric passport to Ghanaians.

Addressing the Ghanaian community in the capital city of Japan, Tokyo, the sector Minister, Hannah Tetteh said the change is expected to enable the nation meet international standards as well as help Ghanaians in the diaspora to acquire passport in Ghana’s 57 missions and consulates worldwide.

She disclosed the ministry is currently “going through a procurement process to build up the infrastructure across all our embassies.”

“That is our 57 missions and consulates, the passport office in Accra and ten regional passport application centres so that across all the embassies of Ghana, you will now be able to apply for what will be the chip embedded passport which is an upgrade on the biometric passport,” she told them.

However, the NPP MP does not see the reason the ministry should be changing the biometric passport when the country adopted it some few years ago.

He disclosed “countries that are using the chip passport are those countries with the United States of America visa waiver” which Ghana is not a party to.

According to him, Parliament needs to “Find out whether the ministry has properly briefed Ghanaians or the public on steps being taken to change from biometric to the chip passport.”

This, the MP said is crucial because such a change has “serious national security consequences, economic consequences, and social.”

Ghanaians seeking to get the passport, he said: “will have to move far and near to have this change in the passport and it has cost because to get the chip passport you need to spend not less than $50.”

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