The Registrar General’s Office is struggling to acquire paper and ink for the processing of passports, a development that has resulted in ’emergency’ passports being put on a waiting list.
Registrar General Clemence Masango revealed in February this year that his department’s operations were being constrained by the shortage of foreign currency needed to import vital material such as paper and ink.
Zim Morning Post reports that on Wednesday, long winding queues were observed at the passports office. An official at the offices reportedly told the publication:
I don’t want to comment since it’s a situation above my pay grade but the situation on the ground is we do not have paper and ink among other things used for printing.
If you want to go outside and see people who are seriously sick and want to go overseas for surgery but cannot get the emergency passports because we do not have the material to print.
Emergency passports are applied for by citizens seeking urgent medical attention, students intending to study abroad or executives intending to travel for urgent business meetings.
However, some emergency passport applicants who spoke to the Post had this to say:
Getting your name on the waiting list of applicants is not a problem but the criteria being used to verify the people who are worth for emergency passport makes everything impossible.
We are told they take 70 applicants per day but it seems as if only 20 are taken in and the officials have their own 50 people who will make it the list to 70 after paying kickbacks.
We are just here to apply for the passports but we are not sure if we will get them since there are some people who applied two weeks ago but are yet to get their emergency passports.
Imagine you come here because your passport has expired when you pay your money you can’t get what you applied for because the government has no ink.
Reports indicate that the issuing of the one-day passport which was pegged at a cost of RTGS$ 318.00 has since been suspended.