Foreign Affairs Minister, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey

The Foreign Affairs Committee of Parliament has summoned the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration,y Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, to appear before it to answer questions relating to the GhanaCard as e-passport, a member of the Committee, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, has revealed.

She is expected to appear before the Committee on Thursday, February 17 at 10 am, Mr Ablakwa said.

Mr Ablakwa, who is a lawmaker for North Tongu, said emerging issues surrounding the GhanCard, especially when the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) described as “incorrect” media reports that it had agreed that the card is equivalent to an electronic passport, are embarrassing to the country for which the Minister has been asked to appear before the committee.

Speaking on the New Day show on TV3, February 16, he said: “The Foreign Affairs Committee has written to the Foreign Minister to appear before us tomorrow Thursday at 10AM and explain to us what is going on.

“We are worried about the image of our country. ICAO statement is embarrassing, to say that what the Vice President is saying is incorrect. They say that it is not even for them to determine, it takes bilateral agreements to decide and ICAO is right because we have been approving these bilateral agreements, they come before us.”

The Spokesperson of Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, Dr Gideon Boako, had in reaction to the ICAO statement insisted that the certification ceremony at the Montreal by the ICAO to have Ghana’s National Identity card, the Ghana Card, captured in the Organization’s PKD was the final step to accept the card as a travelling document.

It clarified that, that decision can only be made by Ghana’s government as “it is the sovereign right of each individual state to decide upon its entry and exit requirements and the documents that need to be presented by those travelling to and/or from its territory”.

In a Twitter thread on Friday, February 11, the United Nations specialized agency for civil aviation emphasized that it is not its role to certify the use of a member’s ID 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.”

But in a post to respond to a tweet by ICAO, which had suggested that it does not determine for a member state which travelling document it accepts, Dr Boako stated that any holder of the Ghana Card can board a flight anywhere in the world into the country, just as with the normal passport.

Meanwhile, the Management of the Ghana Airports Company Limited (GACL) has written to all airports and airlines to allow persons holding valid GhanaCard to board flights to Ghana without the need for a visa.

A statement issued by the GACL on Saturday, February 12 said “Following a key ceremony at the Headquarters of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in Montreal, Canada on 9th February 2022 Ghana’s National Identity Card (GhanaCard) is now duly recognized globally as a valid ID card passport, a machine-readable travel document that can be read and verified by the ICAO Public Key Directory (PKD) at most airports.

“Ghana Airports Company Limited announces to all airports and airlines that holders of a valid Ghana card should be allowed to board flights to Ghana without the need for a visa.”