Zimbabweans can now pay for passport applications in United States dollars, with the least charge pegged at US$60, Government has announced.
This comes as authorities are battling to clear a backlog of 256 000 applications.
Previously, the US dollar facility was only open to the Zimbabwean Diaspora.
Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa told journalists in Harare on Wednesday that Treasury had released USD $4.5 million for the procurement of consumables to print passports.
She said passport fees have been reviewed to US$60 and US$200 for an ordinary and three-day passport issuance, respectively.
The fees are payable in local currency pegged at the prevailing average US$:ZW$ exchange rate.
An emergency passport (24 hours) remains pegged at US$318.00.
Minister Mutsvangwa said, “The production cost for a single passport is US$58.55.”
She added, “Foreign currency is required for the off-shore procurement of consumables. However, the current fees payable in the local currency are no longer viable due to the fact that the auction exchange rate, when applied to the fees charged, translate to unviable returns on expenses”.
The minister also revealed that the country’s passport production factory has a capacity to produce 8 000 passport booklets per day.
“However, the passport personalisation capacity is way below at 2 500 passports per day, while the installed quality assurance is further down at 2 000 passports per day.
“She said passport issuance shifts will be increased to three to expedite production and new machines are being acquired.