New passport fees cause a storm

Top Stories Zimbabwe

Belinda Chaora

There are mixed reactions to Monday’s announcement that Zimbabweans living aboard will have to pay US$318 for a new passport.

Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister Kazembe Kazembe said the move is aimed at helping the Registrar-General’s Office to clear the huge backlog.

“The ministry is aware of the high expectations from members of the public for timely provision of service, particularly in the area of issuance of travel documents.

“The ministry is also aware of what citizens are going through, especially those living abroad whose passports have expired.

“Citizens in the Diaspora need to have valid passports in order to regularise their stay in the host countries. As a way of assisting the department to attend to requirements for passports by citizens in the diaspora, Government has therefore authorised the Civil Registry Department to charge US$318 for passports, in respect of those in the diaspora. The applications will be prioritised on an urgent basis,” said Kazembe.

However, news of the new passport prices is causing a storm.

Some people argue that the move is a game changer while others insist that US$318 is too pricey.

Lameck Maninji, commenting on Facebook, said: “Good move. What is left is efficiency”

One Jojorijo Wamukanya called the latest move a rip off and urged Government to bring the cost of acquiring a passport in line with those obtaining in the region.

In South Africa a passport costs between R400 and R800, which is betweenUS$26 to US$56 using the interbank rate.

Meanwhile, for local residents passport prices remain unchanged at ZW$53 for an ordinary passport, ZW$253 for a three-month passport and ZW$380 for an urgent passport which is meant to come out after 24 hours.