Govt moves in to produce 10-day passports

Source: Govt moves in to produce 10-day passports – Sunday News Jul 3, 2016

THE Government has failed to meet its 10-day passport processing target, as it is still to fully decentralise the Registrar General’s Department while some security procedures are also being improved, an official has said.

In 2013, the Government embarked on the process to digitalise the RG’s office and had set targets to ensure that passports are processed within 10 days of application.

In an interview, Home Affairs Deputy Minister Obedingwa Mguni said it was going to take a little bit of time to fully decentralise and reduce the waiting period for passports.

“We are moving towards full decentralisation but it will take time because there are many security implications that come into play when passports are being printed. We still have to get it right with finger print machines, photographs and other things but once we have beefed up the methods then we can have a passport in 10 days,” he said.

Deputy Minister Mguni said his ministry was looking at key areas in the country that needed to be attended by the RG’s department so that they reduce the time people spend to acquire the documents.

“People in Plumtree have their provincial centre in Gwanda but they pass through Bulawayo to just submit a passport application form, so we need to ensure people in these areas are catered for in-between. The areas also include places like Victoria Falls, Beitbridge, Chiredzi and Kariba. They need offices,” he said.

He said people travel very long distances to get passports hence there was need to increase the number of offices in areas that are facing challenges.

“If we put our offices right where the people are there will be no need for passports to take long to be processed, remember we are coming from a place where they were taking six months to process and we moved to three months now it is roughly four weeks so we are defiantly getting to a 10-day waiting period.”

The Deputy Minister also said the issue of corruption at passport offices was going to be a thing of the past if it takes just 10 days to process.

He said workers at the passport offices will not be bribed into processing passports for people as the process will be short. The Government took over the printing of passports from Fidelity Printers in April this year and the production is now being done according to demand as the facility is now in the hands of the Registrar General’s office.

According to the RG’s office, the centre now has the capacity to print 10 000 booklets per day and can also print for other countries too.

The problem of backlogs in the production of passports has also been cleared. The machine is also capable of producing the e-passport to be introduced soon.

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