In a series of updates the Registrar General’s Office has informed the public that the technical issues that resulted in passport printing grinding to a halt has now been resolved. Passports production has now been resumed.
Government working to clear backlog
Due to foreign currency shortages and general economic woes there has been a ballooning passport backlog. Generally a normal passport application is processed within a period of three months. In recent times applicants have been forced to wait well beyond this.
According to Minister of Home Affairs, Cain Mathema, the backlog currently stands at around 280 000 passports. To clear this he said that the government was going to ramp up passport production to 8 000 passports per day.
Passport fees have not been increase (yet)
One of the reasons for the backlog is an increase in passport applications brought about by the fact that it is now cheaper in real terms to apply for a passport. Even if we are using the official exchange rate it now costs less than $20 compared to the $53 that people had to fork out in USD days. At prevailing black market rates this is a mere $10.
That coupled with the ever hostile economic environment means that people looking for greener pastures outside the country have rushed and swamped the Registrar-General’s Offices with applications. There has also been a increase in demand for emergency passports which are now way cheaper than before in real terms.
A natural step for the government to stem demand would be to increase prices. Despite reports on various blogs claiming the government had already done so, passport fees remain unchanged.
Government has not increased passport fees. There are no increases on fees for passports whatsoever. The situation remains the same and people must not panic. We will do the best we can and indeed we are doing that.
The backlog is at around 280 000 and the machinery we have, has the capacity of producing 8 000 passports per day. Our aim is to produce as many as 8 000 passports per day in order to get rid of the backlog that has accumulated over the years.
The public must not panic. We will provide the passports that are required by the people.
Expect an increase soon
Be as it may expect a price increase soon. That is inevitable.
Our Advice to students who intend to study abroad after High School
If you intend to go to college outside Zimbabwe after writing your Advanced Levels you are encouraged to apply for a passport as soon as possible if you don’t already have a passport. There is no guarantee this backlog will be cleared soon.