Some banks authorised to sell passport forms to the public are suspected to be deliberately causing artificial shortage of the forms, thereby compelling applicants to opt for the online application system, which has brought unbearable pressure on the system.
Currently, the online application system is only operational at the Passport Application Centre at the former Ministry of Foreign Affairs building in Accra and until the system is rolled out nationwide, passport forms are supposed to be sold alongside the online vouchers at the banks.
Complaints coming from some applicants are that they were told by the designated banks that the forms were no longer in the system, leaving them with no choice but to purchase the online voucher.
When contacted on the matter, the Director of Passports, Mr Amanor Daku Mante, told the Daily Graphic that for now the online vouchers and the passport forms were supposed to be sold together until the online application system was extended to the rest of the country by the close of this year.
Mr Mante noted that the manual application forms would be phased out with the eventual nationwide rollout of the online version.
The online system, which was piloted in Accra for about two years with only six applicants, now processes more than 300 applications on a daily basis.
Make forms available
Mr Mante entreated the accredited banks to continue to sell the application forms until the online system was fully in place across the country.
The online passport application process has a delivery period of not more than two weeks.
Some online applicants told the Daily Graphic that they had their passports delivered to them within the stipulated period but complained of regular system breakdown as a result of the huge numbers to be processed.
Mr Mante appealed to Ghanaians who applied for passports in the recent past to collect them so as to free the limited office space.
Currently, there are about 67,000 uncollected passports in Accra, leaving the authorities to consider the option of publishing the names of the owners in newspapers.
The daily pile-up of uncollected passports is said to be causing inconvenience to the staff, who have to grapple with finding space to keep newly printed passports.
Spelling out his vision for passport administration in the country, Mr Mante expressed his commitment to making the acquisition of Ghanaian passports to Ghanaian applicants easy.
He gave an assurance that passport application centres would soon be opened in Koforidua, Tema and later this year in Bolgatanga and Wa.
“I will operate an open door policy, with a listening ear committed to ensuring that our people acquire passports without hustle,” the director of passports stressed.