THE GOVERNMENT has enlisted the services of a Lithuanian printing company, Garsu Pasaulis (GP), to produce national identity documents (IDs) to ease current shortages.
A progress report presented by GP to the Government last week indicates that delivery of consumables used to produce IDs has begun.
Responding to questions from Members of Parliament in the National Assembly last week, Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister Kazembe Kazembe said the move will address the backlog.
“A private company was contracted to take over the production of IDs.
“This was necessitated by challenges our Government is facing with regards to foreign currency issues,” he said.
“As you would appreciate, (for) our IDs and passports, we use a lot of consumables which are imported but that issue will become history very soon because the company that was contracted is seized with the matter.
“In fact, only today we received a progress report to the effect that they are busy procuring all the required consumables to deal with the backlog of IDs.
“Even with the passport issue, the situation has improved a bit (and) I am pleased to say in the next few months we will see a big change since access to these documents is a human right.”
In an interview with The Sunday Mail, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Mr Aaron Nhepera said Cabinet had approved the deal.
“We are still in talks with the company. There are contracts which still need to be signed, but I can confirm that Cabinet has approved.”
Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission chair Dr Elasto Mugwadi applauded the move.
“We will be monitoring what the minister said closely because national identification documents are a fundamental right.
“We carried out a national enquiry of the issue a few years back, we noted issues such as low production of the national documents, rejection of affidavits signed by chiefs and headmen and requirement of up to six witnesses when one requires a national document in some instances.
“So we had a meeting with the minister some time last year and he assured us that the issues will rectified.
“Our target is to have everyone issued with a national document by end of 2022, since it is a national document,” he said.
Last month, the Registrar-General’s Office abruptly suspended a two-day application exercise to issue this year’s Advanced and Ordinary Level school examination candidates with IDs after the department was overwhelmed by applicants.