Monday, September 25, 2023

‘For the time being, carry your passport, necessary documentation when travelling’ – Bawumia tells Ghanaians

The Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has clarified what appears to be an endless debate about the eligibility of the National Identification Card (Ghana Card) as a passport substitute.

“For the time being, I urge travellers to, as always, bring their passport and other forms of the required documentation with them,” he told the Pan African Visions magazine.

Government had earlier announced that it had been officially presented with the certificate to make the Ghana Card an e-passport to be accepted at 44,000 airports across the globe.

This means the Ghana Card, which is a unique biometric identification card, will be accepted as an e-passport in 197 borders globally and 44,000 airports in the world.

However, the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), which was reported to have endorsed this, clarified that it was not its responsibility to “certify the use of a state’s identity card for international travel in place of a passport.”

“Any decision to accept such alternative travel identity document is made by the receiving state itself,” ICAO tweeted.

But in a recent feature in the February issue of PAV Magazine, the Vice President said Ghana Card has met all the requirements for an electronic passport.

The move, he stressed will put Ghana at a vantage point in ongoing plans towards the worldwide implementation of E-visas.

“I am happy to note that we are on course to meet this deadline. The e-passport feature will enable more seamless travel with neighbouring countries and of course throughout the world.

“As a result, Ghana will be one of only a handful of countries where a national identification card also constitutes an e-passport, an illustration of the opportunities of digitisation.”

He, therefore, asked Ghanaians to apply for Ghana Card so as to “be part of this digital revolution.”

Speaking on the digitisation agenda, Dr Bawumia is optimistic his critics will sing the praises of government for transforming Ghana in the coming years.

He noted that government’s agenda will be appreciated by Ghanaians when the impacts of digitisation become more widespread.

“In politics, criticism from opposing parties and their supporters is to be expected and you need to have a tough skin to just get on with delivering the people’s priorities. As such, whilst I welcome robust debate, the cornerstone of any successful democracy, I strongly disagree with the notion that the digitisation agenda is incoherent, and I am sure that the programme will result in a transformed Ghana…

“We are pursuing a very coherent digitisation strategy. In sum, I have no doubt that as the impacts of digitisation become more widespread, criticism will turn to praise,” he opined.

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