Monday, January 18, 2010

Ghana Foreign Ministry educate stakeholders on biometric passports

Accra, Jan. 15, GNA - The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration on Friday organized a training session for Regional Immigration Commanders and Information Service Officers on the issuance of the new biometric passports to be launched on Wednesday, February 3, 2010.

"The session would also mark the beginning of important and effective publicity and sensitization campaign for the implementation of the issuance of biometric passport to be undertaken by the stakeholders," Mr. Martin Quansah, Deputy Director of Passports, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said in Accra. He said the training programme would also afford the stakeholders an opportunity to be conversant with the importance of the adoption of biometric passports, their features, mode of acquisition and all other relevant information.

Mr. Quansah said government's decision to adopt the biometric passport system was in compliance with a directive from the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) that all member countries should adopt the system by 2015. He cited the easy manner by which fake passports were being acquired worldwide and their abuse as the main reason that necessitated the directive from the ICAO.

Mr. Quansah mentioned holographic foil, watermark paper, invisible and visible foil, digital photographs as some of the features of the biometric passports.

On its advantages, Mr. Quansah said it could effectively stop impersonation, share vital information on a holder with national and international organisations, genuine and acceptable photographs. "It would also help us to cross-check a holder on Stop List and other reference list when the need arises and enhance Ghana's image internationally under the ICAO directive," he added. Ms. Bernice Benneh, Director of Passports, said the application fee would be higher due to some features on them. She appealed to the stakeholders to communicate feedback on the passports from the public and their challenges to the implementation agencies for redress to improve on the campaign. Ms. Benneh noted that at the moment only the Passport Office in Accra had been equipped to undertake the project and other passport offices in the regions would be resourced soon.

Source: GNA

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