BY VENERANDA LANGA
HOME Affairs deputy minister Mike Madiro told Senate on Thursday that his ministry was struggling to process 340 000 passport applications due to a severe shortage of resources, particularly imported passport paper.
Madiro had been asked by Chief Shepherd Gundu to explain government plans to address the country’s ever-increasing passports backlog.
“It is government’s position that passports should be accessed by every Zimbabwean whenever they need them, but the problem we have at the moment are the resources to use in making those passports,” Madiro said.
“As of now, we have very little resources and can only issue 800 passports per day, while a lot of people are waiting to get their passports. We have 340 000 people who are waiting for passports.”
Madiro said among the people who were waiting to get passports were the sick, who wanted to urgently travel outside the country for treatment.
“There are also students, which makes it difficult for the Registrar-General’s Office to issue emergency travel documents,” he said.
“What I can say is that the people who are facing those kinds of problems have to write and inform the RG so that they are put on top priority for people who would be waiting for passports, which is equal to the resources which will be available.”
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Madiro said Zimbabweans in the diaspora were also struggling to renew their passports and work permits.
“The Ministry of Home Affairs is trying its level best to make sure that passports are available. So, the Ministry of Finance, through available facilities, should assist in the issuance of passports,” he said.
“It is unfortunate this problem is there and people are not accessing passports on time, including Zimbabwean citizens in the diaspora. When they get work outside the country, they are supposed to have valid passports to enable them get permits.”