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Zimbabwe suspends printing of passports due to system malfunction?

by Staff reporter
25 Apr 2019 at 18:17hrs | Views
The Zimbabwe Registrar General, Mr Clement Masango is evasive on when his office will resume the printing of passports as he argues that there is a system malfunction and he cannot tell when the problem will be resolved.

Masango said the current problem was still ongoing Thursday afternoon. He said since Wednesday night, nothing has changed.

"I released a notice statement on ZTV in the evening revealing that we have encountered a system malfunction, that is affecting us, engineers are working on it so I don't have any timeframe, it is very difficult to say and I am not an engineer."

The Registrar General's office is grappling with the shortages of special paper needed in the processing of passports due to the foreign currency crunch.

Masango said the shortages of passport paper were so bad that his office had resorted to screening even those who wanted to pay top dollar for an emergency passport.

"We have two types of urgent passports - one which can be availed within 24 hours and costs $318, and another, which can be issued within three working days and costs $250, and then a category which can be availed within four weeks ($53), but is affected because currently we are unable to avail them within four weeks due to lack of consumables like ink, passport paper and others, which need foreign currency to be imported," Masango told parliament in February.

The passport office has a backlog of nearly  200 000 applications.

Masango said they have been forced to scale down the processing of emergency and urgent passports to avoid completely running out of paper.

His office is now issuing 500 emergency passports per day.

Source - online