Zim introduces new passport production technology


Harare (New Ziana) – Passport application and production woes are now a thing of the past following the launch of an e-passport production line on Tuesday.
The e-passport, which will also cost less compared to the non-electronic ones currently in use will now take seven days to be produced while an emergency one will take only 48 hours.
An applicant for an ordinary e-passport will pay US$100 while that for an emergency one will pay US$200 down from US$318.
An e-passport is a travel document that has an embedded electronic microprocessor chip which contains biometric information that can be used to authenticate the identity of the passport holder.
Launching the new travel document, President Emerson Mnangagwa said the development was a result of a Build, Own, Operate and Transfer partnership between government and a Lithuanian company Garsų Pasaulis UAB.
He said the introduction of the new e-passport heralded Zimbabwe’s entry into the modern era of smart technology in travel and identification documents.
“Once implementation of the biometric system goes full throttle, we will begin to witness increased production of not just e-passports, but also national identity cards, birth certificates, entry visas as well as residence permits,” he said.
“The era of long queues and corrupt tendencies in the issuance of vital civil registration documents, is indeed coming to an end.”
The current passports will remain in use and will be gradually phased out, for example when one applies for a new one when the one they were using expires.
initially, at least 1000 people will be served per day while at full capacity between 20 000 and 30 000 passports will be produced per day.
President Mnangagwa said investment in the digital economy was critical for Zimbabwe to keep up with global trends.
He said this was also in fulfilment of the dictates of regional and international conventions, protocols and treaties that Zimbabwe is party to, particularly those relating to issuance of civil and travel documents.
For example, he said, the International Civil Aviation Organisation Convention requires that member states take measures to ensure the integrity, authenticity and security of travel and identity documents.
“As such, the partnership with Garsų Pasaulis UAB will ensure that we meet the required standards in the production of passports. It also assists in our migration to digital, machine readable e-passports to eradicate the incidence of document counterfeiting,” he said.
“Our people are set to benefit immensely with the introduction of the e-passport through the enhanced security standards at our ports of entry and exit. The key features of the new e- passport include, among others, an electronic cover with a chip, a security thread fully embedded in the inner booklet pages, as well as unique pages of the passport, each chronicling a story about Zimbabwe’s rich cultural heritage and major tourist attractions. These enhanced security features will go a long way in fighting cross-border organised crimes and illegal migration, thereby fostering the integrity of our immigration system.”
President Mnangagwa said the new passport application system will be replicated across all passport offices countrywide and at selected diplomatic missions abroad.
In addition, he said, an online passport application system is set to be introduced, to allow for remote applications and payment for the documents.
“This is a clear demonstration that the public and the private sector can foster win-win partnerships for national development. Therefore, urge other investors as well as Ministries, Departments and Agencies to follow suit and respond positively to the call for enhanced service delivery as enshrined under the NDS-1,” he said.
Meanwhile, Garsų Pasaulis chairman Emmanuel Cato reaffirmed his company’s product quality.
“I am here to reaffirm our commitment to you and to the people of Zimbabwe that: We will execute our mandate with due care, diligence and professionalism, we will ultimately solve the current problem of non-issuance of passports, we will enhance access to passports by renovating and modernizing all the ten Provincial Passport Enrolment Offices by the end of June 2022.
“We will fully equip all the selected Zimbabwe Embassies and start issuing Passports from them by December 2022 and we will supply Zimbabwe with the consumables required for them to issue out 2 million I.D cards by December 2022,” he said.
“The warmth of the people of Zimbabwe has made it easy for us to commit to embark on this remarkable journey and I am happy to inform you that our experience in this country has inspired us to create a master piece of a passport. For the pride of the Zimbabwean people we have created a picturesque passport which chronicles the rich and diverse cultural heritage of this Country.”
New Ziana

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