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Diplomatic Missions To Keep Part Of Revenue - Hanna Tetteh   
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Ghanaís diplomatic missions will from next year keep portions of their internally generated funds to support their operations.

Parts of the internally generated funds would also be set aside to support diplomatic missions that are not in a position to generate incomes to support their activities.

That is to prevent the situation where earlier this year, the countryís high commissions, embassies and consulates were reportedly cash-strapped.

Missionsí conference

The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Ms Hanna S. Tetteh, announced the decision at the conference of Heads of Missions at the Foreign Ministry in Accra yesterday.

The conference provides a platform for the participants, including the countryís high commissioners, ambassadors and consular generals, to share their experiences, challenges and prospects with respect to the countryís foreign relations.

Topics to be discussed during the two-day conference include strategies and challenges for rebranding of the ministry and missions abroad, status report and challenges on processing and printing biometric passports at selected missions and the engagement of Ghanaians in the Diaspora for national development.

Currently, Ghana has 52 diplomatic missions and two consulates across the world, which also means that there are Ghanaians in the countries in which the missions are located and beyond.

That, Ms Tetteh said, offered the diplomatic missions an opportunity to engage Ghanaians in the Diaspora to make the job of bringing investors into the country easier.

She said while citizens of the country abroad relied on online stories for information about the country, it was not everything that was reported hence the need for the diplomatic missions to explain government policies and initiatives in order to attract foreign investors and Ghanaians overseas to invest in the country.

Biometric passports printing

The ministry also gave the green light to some of the missions to acquire biometric passport printing machines which would be linked to servers in Accra.

ďIf we are able to generate more funds, we will spread it to all the missions. But for now, it will start from where the demand for passports is high,Ē she said.

The minister was quick to add that the machines must conform to those that could print chip embedded biometric passports since the government intended to upgrade Ghanaian passports to chip embedded ones.

On online visa applications, she urged the missions to work together to introduce a uniform visa online acquisition process.

Release of information

President Mahama assumed the chairmanship of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in March this year, a position the Foreign Minister said demanded that he received timely and relevant information regularly.

She, therefore, urged the missions, especially those in the sub-region, to ensure timely and efficient delivery of reports to help the President be on top of issues in the subregion.

Ms Tetteh commended Ghanaís Ambassador to Cote dívoire, General Peter Augustine Blay (retd), and the mission in Liberia for being very effective in that regard.
Source: Daily Graphic

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