Home » Ghana Hikes Passport Fees, Aims for Economic Sustainability

Ghana Hikes Passport Fees, Aims for Economic Sustainability

Steep Rise in Passport Charges Amid Financial Reforms

by Ikeoluwa Juliana Ogungbangbe

The Foreign Affairs Ministry announced an increase in passport application fees, marking a substantial rise from the previous rates. Effective today, the cost for a standard 32-page passport booklet has escalated to ¢500, while the 48-page booklet now demands ¢644 under standard service. For those in need of expedited service, the fees have been set at ¢700 for the 32-page booklet and ¢800 for the 48-page option.

This decision comes on the heels of a proposal made last December by Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, to the Parliament’s Committee on Subsidiary Legislation. Botchwey’s proposal aimed at revising the fees to mitigate the financial losses incurred in the production of passport booklets. During her plea, she emphasized the urgency for Ghanaians to confront the reality of paying more realistic prices for passport services, a move seen as critical for the sustainability of the passport issuance process amidst the country’s economic challenges.

“The time has come for Ghanaians to pay realistic prices for passports they acquire to travel beginning next year,” Botchwey stated, highlighting the unsustainable nature of the current subsidy model. According to her, the government has been shouldering a hefty subsidy, with the production cost of a single passport booklet reaching GH¢400, significantly higher than the GH¢100 fee previously charged to applicants. This discrepancy has led to the government incurring a GH¢300 loss for each passport issued.

The legislative path to this fee increase saw minimal resistance within Parliament. A source from the Parliament’s Subsidiary Legislation Committee, speaking to Joy News, confirmed that the committee had processed the Regulation shortly after it was laid before them. Given the nature of Regulations as opposed to Bills, the lack of objections within a 21-day window effectively allowed the new fees to become law.

The revision in passport fees places Ghana’s passport services among the highest in the West African sub-region, a stark contrast to the situation before the hike. A report by the Committee on Foreign Affairs on the ministry’s 2024 budget estimates revealed that Ghana previously had the lowest passport fees in the region, at a mere $7.7. This adjustment has propelled Ghana ahead of several neighboring countries in terms of passport application charges. For context, Cameroon charges $180, Guinea $57, Guinea-Bissau $65, Burkina Faso $80, and Nigeria $54.29 for similar services.

The Foreign Affairs Ministry’s decision to increase the passport application fees is a strategic move aimed at addressing the financial deficit stemming from the passport issuance process. By aligning the fees with the actual cost of production, the ministry seeks to ensure the sustainability of this essential service. However, this significant fee hike has ignited discussions among Ghanaians, with many expressing concerns over the affordability and accessibility of passport services, especially in light of the economic challenges facing the country.

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