Patience Chido Nhamburo
ZIMBABWE’S passport office, which is battling a huge backlog, is still processing passport applications made 17 months ago.
An ordinary passport costs ZWL$53, equivalent to US$3. Registrar General Clemence Masango said the current fee is far from meeting production costs.
Mr Masango was addressing legislators from the parliamentary portfolio committee on Defence, Home Affairs and Security services, who toured the passport offices on Thursday.
He blamed the shortage of foreign currency which is required to buy paper and ink for printing the document for the crisis which has sparked downsizing of operations.
“For the ZWL$53 passport, we are currently printing those which were applied for in September 2018.
“We are sitting on a backlog in terms of $53 passports, but we however make exceptions for urgent passports provided the applicant has a letter explaining why the application should be considered (urgently). If the application is approved the applicant is required to make a top up (payment) of $253 and the passport will be out within seven working days,” he said.
Normal passport applications which were processed within three months, have been taking more than one year to process, prejudicing the travelling public.