The government has, with immediate effect, slashed passport fees by close to 64% from $140 to $50 in a bid to make the travel document affordable to everyone.
The decision was made by Cabinet on Tuesday this week.
Cabinet noted, before making the drastic move, that most of the country’s citizens were struggling to raise the then prevailing high fee.
Cabinet also instructed the Registrar General’s Office to scrap the penalty previously charged for lost passports.
Addressing journalists at a media briefing in Harare yesterday, Home Affairs co-ministers Kembo Mohadi and Theresa Makone said the reduction in fees should see more people rushing to apply for new passports.
“Cabinet debated extensively and felt that the price of the passport was still too expensive. It then gave a directive to reduce the fee to $50,” said Mohadi.
“It was found not necessary to charge a penalty if someone lost a passport. Instead they should just pay the price of producing a new passport.”
The $140 previously charged for an ordinary passport was equivalent to, or more than, the monthly salary of most civil servants in the country.
Makone said as a result of the reduction in passport fees, her ministry was anticipating long queues at passport offices.
The ministry, she said, was putting measures to deal with the influx of passport applicants.
Makone said as a ministry, they were still to get round challenges faced by Fidelity Printers, the official government printers, in making sure that adequate passports were produced.
“The bottleneck in the production of a passport is in the availability of the booklet. We need to find a solution on how we can get the booklet produced faster,” said Makone.
Mohadi added: “We will want everything done within the ministry. If the Ministry of Finance can give us the money, the RG’s Office can look around so that we can stop outsourcing and produce everything ourselves.”
At the introduction of the multiple-currency system the cost of a passport was pegged at $670 before being reduced to $140.