The Government says the passport backlog has been reduced from 400 000 in August 2020 to just 184 000 and expects it to have been fully cleared by year-end.
Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa also told reporters during a post-Cabinet briefing in Harare on Tuesday that considerable progress has been made in the e-passport production project. She said:
The nation will recall that during its ninth meeting, Cabinet approved a strategy by the Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage to clear the country’s passport backlog that had accumulated to over 400 000 by August 2020.
It is pleasing to note that the backlog has since been reduced to the current 184 000. It is anticipated that the backlog would have been cleared by the end of December 2021.
Mutsvangwa also gave a report on the e-passport production which is being worked out with a Lithuanian company under a build, own, operate and transfer agreement. It is expected to reduce the cost of passports. Mutsvangwa said:
Cabinet also wishes to report that the implementation of a build, own, operate and transfer agreement with Garsu Pasaulis, a Lithuanian company on an e-passport production project is well on course with the aim of boosting production of passports, identification cards and birth certificates.”
The final design of the Zimbabwean e-passport will be fully compliant with the requirements of the International Civil Aviation Organisation.
She also said renovations at the Harare Passport enrolment centre, at the Civil Registry Building, started last week while the Bulawayo Passport enrolment centre commences this Wednesday.