A biometric passport application centre has been inaugurated in Sunyani in the Brong Ahafo Region by the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Mr Chris Kpodo.
The opening of the centre means residents of the region who want to acquire biometric passports do not need to travel to Accra to have their documents processed.
The Brong Ahafo Region is one of the six pilot regions in the country to benefit from the biometric passport application centre project, which is in line with the government’s e-governance policy to decentralise biometric passport application.
Mr Kpodo urged those mandated to manage the centre to exhibit high moral standards by not delaying the process unduly or carrying out underhand dealings for monetary gain.
He said the migration from the old passport to the new biometric system was in conformity with international standards. Besides, the change-over would enhance the dignity of Ghanaians travelling all over the world, as the new passport had security features that would eliminate impersonation and other fraudulent activities associated with the old system.
Mr Kpodo said the new system had one-off payment of GH¢50 for normal processing and GH¢100 for those who wanted it urgently.
The Deputy Brong Ahafo Regional Minister, Mr Eric Opoku, expressed the appreciation of the people in the region to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration for choosing the region as one of the six pilot regions to benefit from the project.
He asked holders of the old passports not to rush for the biometric ones, since the old ones would be valid till 2015.
He said the new system required the physical presence of an applicant, which would also help eliminate the use of middlemen or passport contractors, thereby saving time and cost and reducing fraud.
The Omanhene of the Seikwa Traditional Area in the Tain District, Nana Kwaku Dwuma Ankoana II, who chaired the function, on behalf of the chiefs and people of the region thanked the government for the centre, saying it would save the people the time and cost involved in acquiring a passport.