The government has awarded a tender to an unnamed private company to print national identity document (IDs) cards and passports under a build operate and transfer (BOT) agreement in a bid to ease the current backlog.
This was revealed by Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister Kazembe Kazembe during a question and answer session in Parliament on Wednesday last week.
Responding to Uzumba MP Simbaneuta Mudarikwa (ZANU PF)’s question on government plans to ensure Zimbabweans have access to identity documents and passports, Kazembe said:
Government recently approved the engagement of a private company on a BOT arrangement which is going to, not only issue passports but also issue birth certificates and IDs.
Indeed, they are going to deploy an integrated solution… So, in our view, this is the solution to our problems.
I want to say this initiative by the government is going to end all these troubles because this company has done this in more than 25 countries and they have offered to do this to Zimbabwe.
The government of Zimbabwe is not paying anything for it; they will recover their money from the revenue that they will collect from the passport.
The Registry Department is battling to clear a passport backlog of over 200 000 units, owing to, among others, a lack of foreign currency to import printing materials.
At present, the department is printing an average of 2 000 passports per day against its capacity of nearly 8 000 documents.
An ordinary passport now costs US$60, a three-day passport US$200 and an emergency 24-hour passport costs US$318 or the Zimbabwean dollar equivalent at the prevailing exchange rate.