Decentralisation of passport production not a priority: Govt

Registrar-General Clement Masango yesterday said decentralising passport production was not a top priority because the Harare station, working at full capacity, can produce enough passports to meet national demand.

BY RUTENDO MATANHIKE

Briefing journalists during a visit of the Registrar-General’s Office by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs, Masango said decentralisation of passport production was not feasible at the moment.

This followed reports that the backlog in passport production was around 350 000.

“When we talk of decentralisation, it is basically on the need to have more service points as opposed to just one like what we have on passport production in Zimbabwe. Specifically, to the issue of passports, we have decentralised passport applications to provinces, an ongoing exercise when resources permit.

“However, this plant has the capacity to do 8 000 booklets a day. In terms of the printers we have, if they are all up and running, we can do 3 000 passports every day. So in order to come to 8 000, we would need more printers. Our national demand for passports is far less than that. Everyday we receive about 1 000 applications for passports.
“Therefore, when everything is available, there is excess capacity for passport production here at this office. We do not need to replicate this kind of investment at the moment,” Masango said.

Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage, Cain Mathema announced early this month that the backlog of passport production would be cleared in about a month, but the Registrar-General dismissed the suggestion saying this was not yet feasible because of the unavailability of consumables required in passport production.

He said currently, the passport plant was limited to produce only 750 passports per day.

The passport office is only putting first preference to the production of passports whose owners have matters of urgency.

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