Zimbabwe’s Minister of Home Affairs Kazembe Kazembe has said the Registrar’s office is pushing to clear passport backlog after producing 200 000 passports during the coronavirus-induced lockdown which started in March.
The backlog which is as a result of shortages of consumables and machinery goes as back as 2018 and has blocked many citizens from leaving the country.
The minister said a request had been made for Treasury to provide funds required for the production of more travellers’ documents. Kazembe said:
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.
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.
Scores of Zimbabweans have applied for passports in an endeavour to escape the biting economy, the humanitarian and political crises while some wanted to go to further their studies.
In a desperate move to get passports, some seekers ended paying huge kickbacks to officers in the of the Registrar-General’s office who would quicken the process.
The outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, however, forced them to suspend their plans as countries globally closed their borders in an endeavour to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
More: The Herald