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Ministry of Foreign Affairs promises to finish Upper East Regional Passport Office by August – Regional Minister

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In January 2023, the Upper East Regional Minister Stephen Yakubu, explained that the Upper East Regional Passport Office project had not been shelved. However, a delay in the project was necessary to accommodate structural and architectural revisions.

Mr. Yakubu made this statement when he spoke to Mark Smith on A1 Radio’s Day Break Upper East Show yesterday, January 9, 2022. 

“This project was supposed to have been finished in 6 months or something like that. I am on them. Hopefully this year, we should be able to complete that so that people would be able to go in there to be able to access passports without going to Tamale or any other place. I am on it,” he said. 

While the Minister was coy about giving definitive timelines about when the project would restart, he was optimistic about the resumption and completion of the project by the close of 2023. 

“It is beyond me. I am working closely with my colleague Minister, the Foreign Affairs Minister and most importantly, it is usually about the funds. If the funds are there, then you should be able to complete it and my understanding is that the funds are there. It is just the structural changes [that are to be made]. The drawings, they need to change the drawings. I am on them all the time. Even in December, I reminded the Minister when I met here so it would be done.”

It would be recalled that in July 2022, the Project Manager for the Upper East Regional Passport Office under construction, Kennedy Enyan stated that the project had not been abandoned but was paused to enable the contractor and other stakeholders involved to resolve some issues.

This statement was made during an interaction to respond to rising concerns surrounding the construction of the Passport Office on the Day Break Upper East Show on A1 Radio.

While responding to the delay associated with the work, it emerged that the contractor had to put the work on hold in order to address some challenges that arose during the process.

Mr. Enyan added that it was quite difficult to continue while those challenges persisted.

“In projects, even when you are doing your personal accommodation, it gets to a point where you do get some challenges. Having the challenges at the same time, running the projects becomes some way. So, there is a need that we pause, and then look at the issues around us, rectify them, put them in order, and then continue our project in a peaceful way.”

Many residents in the Upper East Region wondered why the Regional Coordinating Council had failed to provide temporary spaces to serve as a passport office while the main structure was being worked on. 

The Chief Director of the Upper East Regional Coordinating Council, Alhaji Abubakar Insuah, explained that the RCC doesn’t have adequate spaces to accommodate the passport office temporarily

“That is a very good question. The facilities they would require actually require a number of offices, which for now, we are unable to provide. In fact, for now, day in day out, a number of institutions are coming in [and are requesting spaces to work from]. SOCO, for instance, has requested that we give them temporal spaces,” he said. 

The response has not gone down well with a number of people from the Upper East Region. A social commentator and media practitioner, Stanley Abopam, speaking to Mark Smith on A1 Radio’s Day Break Upper East Show today, Tuesday, April 18, 2023, said that the explanation given by the Upper East Regional Coordinating Director is untenable.

“On the Soe Road alone, I can show him [that is] if the Coordinating Director is not aware. I can show him more than five abandoned government bungalows that are sitting there. Nobody is there. We got abandoned bungalows for the military to set their military headquarters.”

“Go to where the Immigration Service and Survey Department are, we have rented those ones to NGOs, and they are no longer operating, and they have closed those offices for years. For me, he should come again. If they have any reason they are not starting the passport office, [he should say so but] he shouldn’t say; never say there is no place,” he stressed. 

The Upper East Regional Minister, Stephen Yakubu, giving updates on the project, on A1 Radio’s Day Break Upper East Show explained that the project remains a priority for the Regional Coordinating Council and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. 

“It [the delay] is to do with the redesign of the building. For the redesigning of the building, they again have to go through the procurement process and it has to be approved and that and that is what is delaying the project. In fact, the last time, the deputy minister was here and promised me that they would be able to finish this thing in August. They want to finish this thing in August. You can see that all the materials are there. So, it is about the approval [of the new designs]. That is where we are. I am still holding them to the August that they were talking about.”

Addressing the concerns around providing a temporary space for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Yakubu explained that that option had already been explored. 

“We gave them a space. In fact, they came and we engaged them and gave them space. When evaluating the space, that is when they realised that the money they were going to use to sort out the space, it would be better for them to build their own place.”

Source: A1radioonline.com|101.1MHz|Mark Kwasi Ahumah Smith|Ghana

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