Rumbidzayi Zinyuke Manicaland Bureau
Government is working on modalities to avail funds that will enable the Registrar General’s office to clear the passport backlog.
Home affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister Kazembe Kazembe recently said a comprehensive strategy had put in place to deal with the issue of outstanding passports.
He said although funds that had initially been raised for this purpose had been channeled towards fighting the Covid 19 pandemic, Treasury was working on making more funds available.
“The Minister of Finance and Economic Development Professor Mthuli Ncube is now seized with the matter to avail the funds and we will be able to clear the passport backlog,” he said.
“I am happy that we managed to do 200 000 passports during the lockdown period so our backlog has actually come down significantly, but we also take note that no one was applying. I hope the Ministry of Finance will soon avail the funds for us to buy some consumables and machinery as well.”
Minister Kazembe said he was confident that Government would deal with bottlenecks that have been limiting production of travel documents.
For the past few years, the passport backlog has been growing and before the lockdown, production had been seriously affected by increasing applications and foreign currency shortages
In Manicaland alone, applications for passports had gone up to 50 000 by the time the Registrar’s office stopped taking new ones.
Manicaland Provincial Registrar Ms Joyce Munamati said the province had issued a total of 9 000 passports during the lockdown period.