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130,000 Biometric Passports Issued Chris Kpodo   
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Over 130,000 biometric passports had been issued nationwide since April 2010, Mr Chris Kpodo Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister disclosed on Wednesday.

The Deputy Minister, who put the figure at 138,067, explained
that 75,912 were expressly issued with 62,155 being regular passports.
In addition, he said 444 diplomatic passports and 142 service
passports were issued during the same period.

He said the 444 diplomatic passports included those that were
issued to members of Parliament. The Deputy Minister, however said, 666 passports issued have still not been collected by their owners.

Mr Kpodo was speaking in Parliament during question time.
He said the passport office had issued an average of 10,620
passports for the whole period reaching a peak of 17,305 passports in
March 2011.
He said, however, that in the early part of 2011, the issuance of
biometric passport by the passport office had been characterized by
considerable delays and huge backlog due to various operational

Mr Kpodo explained that the passport issuing procedures had been
streamlined and additional equipment installed, adding that these
measures had greatly enhanced the productive capacity of the passport
office and had enabled it to clear the previous backlog.

He noted that it had also assisted the office to issue passports
within the stipulated time of three days for express passport and
fifteen days for regular passports except in cases where there were
problems with specific application submitted.

Mr Kpodo stressed that the biometric passport system had potent
security features that could eliminate non Ghanaians from acquiring
Ghanaian passports and explained that the applicant appearing in
person was a major antidote to the problem of passport fraudsters.
Source: GNA

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