Biometric Passport Issuance Is Centralized � Minister

The issuance of the biometric passport is at moment centralized, Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister, Mr Chris Kpodo, on Wednesday said. He said though plans were advanced to have the system decentralized the centres established in the regions were only Biometric Passport Application Cetres. He said apart from the Greater Accra Region all other centres created in Kumasi in the Ashanti Region, Sunyani in the Brong Ahafo Region, Sekondi in the Western Region and Tamale in the Northern Region, were not given the mandate to issue passport but take biometric data of prospective applicants and pass them on to Accra for issuance. �The regions are processing centres not issuing centres� he said. Mr Chris Kpodo, who was speaking on the floor of Parliament during question time, said though the regional centres were established to deal with the congestion in Accra, some found it convenient to travel to Accra, adding that the phenomenon was putting much pressure on the Accra office. He said these centres were all operational and applicants in these regions no longer need to travel to Accra to obtain passports though some applicants did that out of choice or ignorance about the existence of the centres. He disclosed that the centre in the Volta Region would become operational by the end of July 2011. �Our diplomatic missions abroad have been provided with the standard list of equipment required for them to process biometric passports and directed to source for the hard ware in their prospective areas of accreditation,� he said. He noted that the Ghana�s missions were not also mandated with the issuance of the passport, but also serve as biometric Passport Application Centres. They are also supposed to furnish the Accra office with biometric data of applicants for Accra to issue the passports. He stated that the project company - Buck Press would visit the missions for installation and training of the staff to kick start the processing of biometric passports. �The software can only be installed by Buck Press hence the visit,� he explained.