THE 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 been 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 channelled 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 the Government would deal with bottlenecks that had been limiting production of travel documents.
For the past few years, the passport backlog had been growing and before the lockdown, production had been affected by increasing applications and foreign currency shortages.
In Manicaland alone, the application backlog for passports had gone up to 50 000.
Manicaland Provincial Registrar Ms Joyce Munamati said the province had issued a total of 9 000 passports during the lockdown period.