Home Affairs Minister, Kazembe Kazembe has said that the passport backlog which dates back to 2018 needs to be cleared this year.
Kazembe proposed the computerisation of the system to allow passport seekers to apply online. Speaking in Chinhoyi where he toured provincial registry offices, Kazembe said:
We have a backlog of 355 thousand passports, they need to be processed and that backlog has to be cleared before year-end. The major challenge is the lack of consumables. Decentralisation is an ongoing process. The solution is computerisation. There is no decentralisation that beats applications via online.
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Kazembe also proposed that Registrar General’s offices have to be solar-powered to avoid delays due to power cuts. His remarks come when there are reports suggesting that the government intends to allow local citizens with “free funds” to apply for passports using foreign currency, particularly the United States dollar.
The biting economy has forced a number of Zimbabweans to contemplate going abroad to search for greener pastures and as a result, the RG’s office is overwhelmed by the demand when it already had insufficient resources for printing passports.
More: ZBC News