Ghana’s foreign affairs and regional integration Minister has met with the Dean of the Honorary Consular Corps in Ghana and Honorary Consul of Belgium Mr Dimitri Avraham and three other Honorary Consuls being Mr Antonio Jos de Matos Fernandes, Honorary Consul of Portugal; Mr Thomas Okyere, Honorary Consul of Botswana; and Mr Fedrik Morsing, Honorary Consul of Sweden in Accra.
The Honorary Consul of Belgium together with three Honorary Consuls paid a courtesy call on the Hon. Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey.
Currently, there are forty Honorary Consuls in Ghana (operating from various parts of the country).
The Hon.Minister Welcomed the Dean and other representatives of the Honorary Consular Corps to the Ministry and expressed her admiration for their efforts in strengthening further the relations between their sending states, which do not have full Diplomatic Missions in Ghana and the country.
She Commended the Honorary Consular Corps for the hard work in promoting mostly business and economic relations between Ghana and the various countries they represent.
She Mentioned the efforts by her Ministry to ensure that all privileges due the Honorary Consular Corps as stated in the Vienna Convention on Consular relation 1963 are extended to them.
The Minister referred to a Stakeholder meeting in November, 2020 between officials of the Ministry, the Police, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) of Ghana to deliberate on appropriate vehicle registration number plates and other privileges for the Honorary Consular Corps after which a circular Note Verbale was sent to all Honorary Consuls conveying the outcomes and decisions for guidance and compliance.
She noted that CC prefix on a White Background with Black Letters number plate would be issued to Honorary Consular Corps and the members must submit a request for the re-registration through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration to the DVLA.
She drew attention to some tax exemption requests sometimes received from Honorary Consular Corps and indicated that only privileges and immunities stated in the Vienna Convention on Consular relations can be extended and added that Honorary Consuls did not benefit from tax exemptions.
Madam Ayorkor Botchwey assured the Honorary Consular Corps of the Ministry’s preparedness and commitment to extend to them all privileges and immunities due them as clearly stated in the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations 1963, and also support them in their work in promoting strong economic ties between Ghana and their sending states.
On his part, Mr Avraam appealed to Ghana for the enactment of a law backing the CC vehicular number plates for the Honorary Consular Corps and their members.
He also suggested that a dedicated person be appointed at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration to be in-charge of issues concerning Honorary Consular Corps and their members.