The Member of Parliament(MP) for Ningo Prampram constituency, Sam George has dared Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia to prove that the Ghana Card can indeed be used as a travel document.
It may be recalled that Dr Bawumia speaking during the launch of the E-pharmacy platform on Monday, opined that diasporans could travel into the country without visas once they have the Ghana Card.
“People could not understand how the Ghana Card, certified by ICAO, could be used as travel document and they mocked the idea. But today, it is a reality and our diasporans should get the Ghana card before they leave Ghana. When they get the Ghana card, they can travel to Ghana without applying for a visa at any embassy abroad.”
Speaking in an interview on Joy FM’s News Night on Tuesday, Sam George who is a member of the Communication Committee of Parliament said the Vice President is 'at sea'.
“He does not understand the issues. You need to use the Ghana Card as a travel visa if it can allow you to embark and disembark. As we speak today, when you get to the Kotoka International Airport, for departures, there is no desk for Ghana cards. There is only a desk for Ghana cards for arrival and so it is only for citizens of this country returning home.”
"And even for citizens returning home, if you are returning from London for example, at London Heathrow, you will not be allowed to board any plane by showing only your Ghana Card. You must show a passport and show that either that passport is a Ghanaian passport that allows you to fly back to Ghana without a visa, or if it is of any other country, show a Ghanaian visa.
“Dr. Bawumia himself, as Vice President, cannot travel from Ghana with his Ghana card. I am challenging Dr. Bawumia to embark on a foreign trip from Ghana, using his Ghana card alone. This level of deception of the public by a public officer of the rank of Vice President is unbecoming.”
Foreign Ministry contradiction
Meanwhile, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, has contradicted Bawumia's statement.
According to her, “Like many other countries, They don’t issue E-Visas and for very good reasons. What we are starting with is the security visas, the biometric visas. At a later date, I’m sure that at some point in time the issue of E-visas will be considered . . . I see it as a first step towards eventually [issuing E-visas] . . . when we have a good database when we have people who are frequent visitors and we know them. At some point, the decision will be made.”
“Ghana Card is internal. It is for those of us here. But in the event that the Ghana Card is extended to Ghanaians outside . . . Basically, Visas are for people who are not Ghanaians who want to enter our country but for those who have Ghana Card they can come without any problem. These are basically for visitors entering who are not Ghanaians . . . they are for non-Ghanaians, they need visas to come into the country," she added.