Sunday Mail Reporter
The Government will decentralise electronic passport (e-passport) application centres to all the country’s provinces by June this year.
The Bulawayo Registrar-General’s Office is already being equipped with systems capable of processing e-passport applications ahead of the roll-out over the next few weeks.
Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Permanent Secretary Mr Aaron Nhepera said authorities will expeditiously decentralise the issuance of the travel documents.
“As you are aware, we engaged the Lithuanian company Garsu Pasaulis (GP) and we have been working with them on the issue of e-passports,” he said.
“Currently, work has started in Bulawayo at the Registrar-General’s Office and soon we will be moving to other provinces. We anticipate that by June we will have completed the exercise in all other provinces as well.”
After the successful roll-out of e-passports, Government’s focus has shifted to addressing challenges around the issuance of national identity cards.
“We are still having challenges with consumables for IDs,” added Mr Nhepera.
“Government decided to start with the passport issue and we will soon be moving on to identity cards.
“We have engaged GP; they will also be working with us on the IDs consumables.”
The RG will next month launch a nationwide campaign to issue civic documents.
Last year, Government and GP entered into a build, operate and transfer arrangement that will witness the Lithuanian company produce e-passports for the country.
The partnership will also see the company refurbishing provincial and district registry offices across the country as well as providing consumables for the production of IDs.
Resource constraints plaguing the RG’s Office have made it difficult for people to obtain key civic documents.
A study commissioned by the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) in April 2020 focusing on access to civic documentation recommended the development of a national policy on access to documents and decentralisation of the RG’s Office.