Ghanaian News

86,000 Passports remain uncollected

Over 86,000 passports remain uncollected at the Passport Office, the Senior Government Advisor on Public Sector Reforms, Yaw Osafo-Maafo, has said.

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“Some of the applicants use middlemen to complete the passport application form, so if you call, the numbers they provide on the forms, it does not go through,” he said. Mr Osafo-Maafo added that because there were no accurate and reliable data of applicants, it was difficult to use courier services to distribute their passports to them.

“What we need to do is to ensure that we build a strong system that can capture reliable data of passport applicants so that the passports can be delivered through courier services to them for a fee,” he said.

Mr Osafo-Maafo was addressing the media at a Meet-the-Press series in Accra Wednesday [June 19, 2024] to provide updates of the Public Sector Reform for Results Project (PSRRP).

Context
The government, through the Office of the Senior Presidential Advisor (OSPA) and the PSRS, implemented the project from 2019-2023. The World Bank provided the PSRRP with a credit facility of $35 million for which a financing agreement was signed on November 12, 2018. The project was restructured in 2021 and the amount reduced to US$ 24 million to cover 13 ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs).

The PSRRP was an initiative of the government for the implementation of the National Public Sector Reform Strategy (NPSRS) 2018-2023. The project was intended to “improve efficiency and accountability in delivering selected services by selected entities.”

The beneficiary institutions of the project included the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA), the Passport Office, the Births and Deaths Registry (BDR), the ministries of Transport, Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration (MFARI), Environment Science Technology and Innovation (MESTI), Local Government, Decentralisation and Rural Development (MLGDRD).

The others are the Public Services Commission (PSC), Office of the Head of Civil Service (OHCS), Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), Monitoring and Evaluation Secretariat (MES), National Information Technology Agency (NITA) and Public Sector Reform Secretariat (PSRS).

Service delivery
Mr Osafo-Maafo said the investment in the operations at the Passport Office under the PSRRP had contributed to the improvement in capturing of biodata. He said that had been made possible through the setting up of new biodata capturing booths, thereby reducing the waiting period drastically across the country.

“The passport application ecosystem has improved significantly. Since August 2023, the Passport Office has been able to process and print about 700,000 passport applications, including 100,000 passport application backlogs as against the annual average target of 500,000 printed booklets,” he added.

Achievement
Mr Osafo-Maafo said the project had led to the strengthening of organisational performance for improved service delivery at the beneficiary institutions.For instance, he said the project had also supported the Public Services Commission (PSC) and the Office of the Head of Civil Service (OHCS) to establish modern video conferencing facilities – an IT-enabled interactive platform that allows the two institutions to virtually engage their stakeholders at their respective locations.

Again, the OHCS cleared 14,657 backlog of staff promotions since 2021, while the video conferencing facility facilitated the conduct of over 5,000 interviews in different parts of the country in 2022, and 4000 in 2023.

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