Alhaji Mohammed Mumuni, Minister of Foreign Affairs, answering questions during his turn at the meet-the-press series at the Ministry of Information in Accra. Three new Passport Application Centres (PACs) are to be inaugurated by the close of this month to help ease the congestion and rush at the PAC and the Passport Office in Accra.
The new PACS are to be inaugurated in Sekondi, Sunyani and Tamale. Since the biometric passport was launched on March 23, 2010 in Accra, 29,019 Ordinary, 48 Service and 251 Diplomatic passports have been issued to various categories of Ghanaians. Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration Minister, Alhaji Muhammad Mumuni, announced this in response to a question when he took his turn at the Meet-the-Press series organised by the Ministry of Information in Accra yesterday. He conceded that there had been challenges in the issuance of the biometric passports but explained that it should be expected of any new project. He, however, gave an assurance that when the three new PACs and the remaining ones were inaugurated, the challenges would be addressed.
Alhaji Mumuni also admitted that the old machine readable passports were being issued alongside the biometric passports because there were outstanding applications prior to the launch of the biometric passports and indicated that the ministry did not want to burden those applicants to re-apply by purchasing the new forms. According to him, the old passports are machine readable and are valid until 2015, when it will be phased out.
Touching on other activities of the ministry, Alhaji Mumuni said the ministry continued to pursue the policy of good neighbourliness to sustain the climate of peace and stability in the sub-region. The mutual trust and confidence established by President J.E.A. Mills and his counterparts as the basis for addressing common challenges to development across nation frontiers, was maintained.
Alhaji Mumuni said the ministry also sought to give substance to the government’s declaration to make regional integration the flagship of its foreign policy by actively participating in the deliberations of ECOWAS and other sub-regional and regional economic communities while ensuring that Ghana derived maximum benefit from its membership of such bodies.
According to him, the decision to relocate the new ministry at that site was because the AESL had advised against the reconstruction of the old ministry gutted by fire in October, last year. Besides that, Alhaji Mumuni explained that as the gateway to the government and the nation, it was important that the ministry was sited at a place that was attractive and conducive as against the old place which was close to the market.