ACCESS to passports remains a nightmare for many as the Registrar-General (RG)’s Office is battling to clear a massive backlog owing to a critical shortage of foreign currency to acquire paper and ink, among other consumables.
BY BLESSED MHLANGA
Briefing Cabinet, Home Affairs minister Cain Mathema said the RG’s Office had managed to up production of passports from a paltry 60 a day to a miserly 800 after receiving some consumables.
“Cabinet received a progress report by the Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage on the resolution of the challenges currently affecting the production of passports in the country. The minister advised Cabinet that the new equipment and consumables required to upscale the production of passports had now been procured,” a Cabinet statement read.
“Following this development, the Registrar-General’s Office now has the capacity to produce 800 passports per day, up from the 60 passports, which had of late become the daily maximum output,” read.
Currently, the government is battling a backlog of 300 000 passports as many locals seek the document, which has become the sole getaway ticket from the biting economic challenges.
“Government will continue to mobilise further resources in order to ensure that the daily maximum production of passports is raised to 8 000. The Central Registry will also take advantage of the idle capacity at the Fidelity Printers to further boost the production of passports. Government, once again, wishes to assure the nation that the passport production backlog of 300 000 will be cleared very soon for the convenience of our citizens both within Zimbabwe and in the Diaspora,” the statement reads.
Many have been forced to cross the borders illegally after failing to acquire the critical travel documents, especially with South Africa refusing to accept Emergency Travel Documents at its ports of entry.
Cabinet also received information that the Finance ministry had disbursed the remaining $20 million from a fund set up to rehabilitate and restock businesses affected by the January 14-16 demonstrations early this year.