The unavailability of foreign currency to procure material for passports has created a backlog of passports processing dating to July 2018, the Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage, Cain Mathem has revealed.
Addressing Journalist at the Hwange District Registry offices, Mathema said the unavailability of foreign currency and the malfunctioning ofpassport production machines had contributed to the backlog.
“There has been unavailability of foreign currency to procure the needed consumables including the passport paper. Also due to the passage of time some passport production machinery has been in use for some time now and needs to be replaced. These are the challenges which are currently being faced by the Central Registry,” said the Minister.
Mathemasaid that through the intervention of President Emmerson Mnangagwa, the Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage in conjunction with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development have started addressing the matter.
He said Treasury has already paid US$591 000 to procure three state of the art high capacity additional printers.
“Such a development would raise production from the current 3000 a day to 8000 which matches or equals the current daily production capacity, which translate to clearing the backlog at a rate of approximately 160 000 a month when commissioned,” said Mathema.
He said his ministry is implementing the decentralization programme under which new registries are being constructed in all provinces.
“This year our focus is on Murewha,Goromonzi and Wedza district registries in Mashonaland East Province.Plans are also afoot to construct the Kadoma, Insiza and Bindura districts” he said.
He said the decentralization programme is meant to bring documentation services nearer to the people, so that there will be no need for people to travel long distances either to Harare, Bulawayo or provincial capitals.