Government has increased passport production from 60 to 1 000 per day following the delivery of material including passport paper, gold foil, passport covers, glue and security threads and a new printing machine for personalisation.
The production is expected to increase further to at least 3 000 daily as two more new personalisation machines are on their way and plans to have day and night shifts are afoot with Government targeting to clear a 340 000 passport backlog that accumulated since last year.
Addressing the Press yesterday after touring the passport production offices at Josiah Magama Tongogara Barracks, Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister Ambassador Cain Mathema said new applicants will now collect their passports within a period of a month.
“As the Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage, my Ministry is charged with the responsibility, among others, of providing civil registration and travel documents. The department of the Registrar General is currently facing an increasing backlog of passport applications currently 340 000, dating back to July 2018.
“At the moment the Department has less than 2 000 passport consumables and has for some time now been issuing just 60 passports per day, only to unavoidable urgent cases and avert total shutdown. “I promised the President and the country that we would soon be producing 3 000 passports per day towards our targeted figure of 8 000 per day which is equal to our production. As of today we are upping our figure from 60 to 1 000 per day,” he said.
Minister Mathema said the low production of passports had been occasioned mainly by the unavailability of foreign currency to procure the needed consumables including passport paper.