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Govt to raise passport fees

by Staff reporter
19 Nov 2019 at 20:47hrs | Views
Govt to raise passport fees
THE registrar-general(RG)'s office says it will hike up its fees in a bid to marshal enough foreign currency needed to produce sufficient passports for Zimbabweans, the Daily News reports. This comes as the RG's office is saddled with a mammoth 386 000 passport backlog, which has raised consternation among long-suffering Zimbabweans.

Speaking at a meeting with media editors at the weekend, Registrar-General Clemence Masango said the existing passport fees were not economical and needed an urgent review to  reflect the current economic situation in the country.

"The matter (of increasing fees) is now with Treasury. They have the final say on the adjustments after we have advised them.

"The process is underway ... If there is a change in fees or anything to do with policy that will be properly communicated," Masango said.

An ordinary passport currently costs $53 - while urgent passports issued within working days cost $253. Express passports which are issued within 24 hours cost $318, and temporary travel documents cost $38.

These fees were last increased during the era of the multi-currency system when bond notes were pegged at parity with the United States dollar.
 
The government will miss its audacious target of clearing the passport backlog by year end after it emerged that a combination of delays in shipping material and foreign currency was standing in its way.

This comes as the registrar-general's office is facing an unenviable task of clearing a backlog of 386 000 passports due to debilitating shortages of foreign currency and a hardening of stance towards the government by international suppliers.

Registrar-General Clemence Masango, however, was optimistic that his department would have cleared the backlog by the end of first quarter of 2020 — barring a degeneration of the current situation — which he said had improved from the August position where his office was only processing 60 passports a day against a target of 3 000 passports.

Normally, passport applications should be processed within three months, but since 2016 the registrar-general's office had been struggling to import essential supplies such as paper due to lack of foreign currency.

Zimbabwe is currently in the grip of a huge economic crisis — the worst in more than a decade — which has triggered shortages of power, foreign currency, water and critical medicines at State hospitals.

Source - Daily News

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