Foreign currency shortage triggers Zimbabwe passports backlog

Published: 28 November 2018
REGISTRAR-GENERAL (RG) Clemence Masango yesterday said his department had a backlog of 170 000 passports, which has accumulated since May, and requires additional foreign currency to speed up the processing of the documents.

Masango disclosed this in Parliament when he appeared before the Levi Mayihlome-led Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs, together with Home Affairs ministry secretary Melusi Matshiya to speak on the 2019 national budget allocations.

"There is quite a big appetite for passports in the country and, on average, we get over 700 applications per day of new passports, but all consumables and ink for the passports are imported and require foreign currency," he said.

"While we are allowed to retain fees we collect for recurrent expenditure use, we have to queue with everyone for foreign currency, and, as a result, we have a backlog of 170 000 passport applications backdating to May 2018."

Masango said the RG's Office had equipment to process passports, but lack of consumables had led to the huge backlog and people have to wait six months for the travel document.

"We wish the retention fund can be maintained because passports and national identity cards have an international component in that the polythene material and ink used are all imported. We also want to embark on mobile registration for IDs and not wait for elections as a way of servicing people. During election periods, there is high demand for registration and if we do it throughout the year, we can solve that problem," he said.

Matshiya said his ministry had already negotiated with a Russian company for provision of passport paper for the next two years, but said the company needed 50% cash upfront before it begins processing the order.

"If there is further delay, we are likely to have perennial problems which can be a national embarrassment. We have opened foreign currency accounts, but if there is delay on the part of Treasury to disburse it, our services will be rendered inefficient and the entire value chain will be affected," Matshiya said.
- newsday
Tags: Passport,


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