The government has put in place measures that will help in clearing backlog of passport applications which will see workers at the passport office working a night shift.
Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister Kazembe Kazembe made the remarks at a post-cabinet briefing in Harare last night.
“Printing two thousand passports a day will not clear the backlog but we are working to raise capacity to 8 000 passports a day. To be on the safe side, we need up to around mid-year to clear the backlog once we get all the consumables.
“We even have the capacity to have our manpower work night shift to have work done,” he added.
He also announced that ordinary and emergency passports fees have been revised upwards in order for the government to acquire material to process passports.
The Government has also approved for the use of foreign currency by those with the currencies to get their passports processed even quicker.
Kazembe said his ministry is only waiting for Finance minister Prof Mthuli Ncube to come up with a Statutory Instrument governing the approval.
“Clearing our passport backlog that currently stands at 400 000 is not going to happen soon. However, as a government, we are subsidizing the issuance of passports because it is a basic right for citizens to have the identification documents.
“We have revised upwards our ordinary and emergency passport fees application from RTGS$53 and RTGS$253 to RTGS$150 and RTGS$650, respectively.
“Because we are subsidizing the production of passports, the cabinet has also approved that citizens can make their applications using foreign currency. We are just waiting for Finance Minister Prof Mthuli Ncube to come up with a Statutory Instrument,” said Kazembe.
Among other interventions announced by Minister Kazembe in clearing the passport backlog, the Finance Ministry is providing a USD$1 million debt settlement facility, which “will be maintained.”