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VISA free entry for Ghanaians going to UAE…Nigeria still on banned list

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Authorities of the United Arab Emirates have approved a Visa-free entry into the country for Ghanaians.

The waiver allows holders of Ghanaian passports to stay in the UAE for up to 90 days without applying for a visa.

The agreement between the two countries was approved on August 5, 2021, after months of negotiation.

According to media reports the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on mutual exemption of entry visa requirements covers diplomatic, service/special, and ordinary passport holders.

The agreement was first executed on November 18, 2019, with the object of waiving the visa requirements for these passport holders in Ghana and the UAE, who can stay for a period not exceeding 90 days.

However, following negotiations, it has been extended to include anyone with a valid Ghanaian passport.

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, presented the MoU to the Ghana parliament on May 26, 2021, and was referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs for consideration and report in accordance with Order 140(4) and 183 of the Standing Orders of Parliament.

Chairman of the Committee, Bryan Acheampong indicated that during a presentation of their report that Ghana/UAE had had fruitful cooperation, indicating that the two countries were desirous to take the bilateral relations to another level.

According to him, the agreement constitutes a comprehensive framework on visa regimes for both countries and does not impose obligations on the two parties to admit people who are considered to be of questionable character into their territories.

He reported that neither did the MoU impose any financial obligation on the two countries nor provided direct financial gains from its implementation.

“Agreement had been fashioned in a way to create a win-win situation for both countries and added that relaxed visa entry requirement is expected to yield tremendous benefits to citizens of Ghana and UAE through improved relations, trade, and bilateral co-operation.

” visa waiver arrangements to facilitate the movement of diplomats and government officials are common, except that this one makes ordinary passport holders beneficiaries,” he added.

Nigeria and the UAE have been enmeshed in a diplomatic row over COVID-19 protocol.

The UAE authorities had instructed Nigerian travellers at the Lagos and Abuja airports to take another PCR test on arrival in Dubai.

But Hadi Sirika, the minister of aviation, criticised the decision and termed it “discriminatory profiling” of Nigerian travelers.

In a reaction, the UAE government suspended flight entry into the country from Nigeria until August 15, 2021.