Govt hikes passport fees
Harare, (New Ziana) – The government on Wednesday hiked passport fees to an equivalent of US$60 in local currency for an ordinary passport in line with the exchange rate and the demand for foreign currency to import consumables, a cabinet minister has said.
The fee for a three day-passport was set at US$300, while that for a 24-hour one remains at US$318, and that for an E-Passport is US$80.
Previously, an ordinary passport cost US$53 and took about three months to be produced while the three-day one cost US$253.
At the current exchange rate of $84.40 to the greenback, citizens will fork out ZWL$5 064 to get a new ordinary passport and ZWL$25 320 for a three-day one.
The Registrar General’s Department has in the past few years struggled to deal with a huge backlog of passport applications, which currently stands at 256 000.
Due to the backlog, some who applied for the ordinary passport have gone for over a year without getting it.
Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister, Monica Mutsvangwa said the cost of producing one passport was US$58.55, necessitating the review of the charges.
“Foreign currency is required for the off-shore procurement of consumables,” Minister Mutsvangwa said.
“However, the current fees payable in the local currency are no longer viable due to the fact that the auction exchange rate, when applied to the fees charged translate to unviable returns on expenses.”
The RG’s Department can produce 8 000 passport booklets a day but capacity for the other stages in the production stages which are personalisation of the documents and quality assurance further goes down to 2 500 and 2 000 a day respectively.
This means all things being equal, it will take the department at least 128 days to clear the current backlog.
Minister Mutsvangwa said government had committed to provide US$4.5 million to import more equipment and consumables.
“The public is assured that passports issuance services will run uninterrupted until the backlog is cleared,” she said.
“The passport issuance shifts will be increased to three in order to expedite production. New machines are being acquired in order to improve operations.”
Government was also considering engaging local innovation hubs and universities to produces some of the consumables which are being imported to reduce the import bill, she said.