Ghana’s Embassy in Beijing has received approval from the Foreign Affairs Ministry to issue passports to Ghanaians living in China.
This was disclosed by the Acting Head of Mission, Mr. McArios Akanbong at an Open Forum and Town Hall meeting held in Beijing on Saturday to address issues of concern to Ghanaians living in China.
“We have got approval. Only the government has to give us the funds for the deployment of the machinery. If that comes then we will be proposing new fees and if we have all of those things we can factor in what you are saying,” he said in response to a suggestion by a student that the government should consider reducing visa application fees for students.
He however, indicated that visa fees were determined by Parliament and not by the individual embassies of the country abroad.
Issuance of passports
“Remember that we are not sleeping here at the China Embassy. We want to be able to issue passports from China here.
“We are working hard to be able to issue passports from China here rather than send it to Accra for the processing that takes three months and four months and often prejudices you,” he said.
Mr Akanbong said as South Africa, the UK, Germany and the United States were all issuing passports to their citizens from China the Ghana Embassy could also do that.
He, therefore, urged Ghanaians living in China to be optimistic that the funds needed for the necessary passport machinery would be released by the government soon.
He indicated that if the embassy started issuing Ghanaian passports, it would also take care of the needs of Ghanaians in South Korea, Malaysia and some other countries in their jurisdiction.
The Minister/Consular Affairs at the embassy, Mr. Isaac Seth Odame, also disclosed that approval had been received from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to open consulates at the Guangzhou and Shanghai provinces and that the embassy was just waiting for logistics to open the new consulates.
“Approval was also given for Shanghai so as and when we have the logistics and other things that would complement the opening of these consulates it shall be done,” he assured.
Mr. Odame said the opening of the new consulates was very important as they would ease the pressure that was always encountered by the Beijing embassy.
Advice to students
Advising Ghanaian students in China, Mr. Akanbong told them their generation had the greatest opportunity to become millionaires before they turned 30 years because they were in the world’s second largest economy where immense opportunities abounded, urging them to make the utmost of that chance they had.
“If you are to make money and make big money, please your country has a lot of opportunities that you will never know of if you stay here,” he said.
After admonishing the Ghanaians studying at various universities in China, he advised them to return home to use the practical education they had received instead of resigning themselves to menial jobs.
He said the duty of the officer in charge of Diasporan Affairs at the embassy; Mr. Eddie Arthur, was to compile a register of Ghanaians living in China and their skills so that if the government needed people with particular skills they could be recommended and so he asked them to ensure they took their studies seriously.
**Mpactglobal: Clement Boakye
(Graphic online contributed to this story)