The Registrar General’s Office says it has cleared close to half of a 200 000 backlog of passport applications since the introduction of night shifts for round-the-clock production two months ago.
Speaking on National ZBC’s current affairs programme on Wednesday night, Deputy Registrar General Ben Mpala said since the double shifts were introduced, 94 000 out of over 200 000 passports have been issued.
He said the Civil Registry Department is processing 5 000 passports each day and was hoping to clear the backlog if resources are availed. Said Mpala:
Since 26 April we started working double shifts to clear the backlog. We are now working overnight processing 5 000 passports per day and we have cleared 94 000 applications. About 105 000 applications are left out of about 200 000.
Mpala said only the emergency passports which cost US$318 are being issued while work is being done to resume issuing of the ordinary passport.
He said a Statutory Instrument is in the pipeline for the production of ordinary passports.
Some citizens have been waiting for over a year to collect their passports as the Civil Registry Department has been experiencing challenges in procuring consumables.
The backlog dates back to March 2019 and has been worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Polythene-synthetic identity documents are also in short supply and thousands of GCE Ordinary and Advanced Level students may fail to register for the 2021 public examinations as they are still to obtain the documents.