State Media reports indicate that there is an increase in underhand dealings at the passport offices, with desperate applicants parting with as much as US$200 to apply for the travel documents through middlemen.
Over the past year, the Registrar General’s (RGs) office has scaled down the issuance of passports owing to shortages of consumables, with daily levels now around 250 against a national demand of 3 000.
In an interview, Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister Cain Mathema said the country is facing challenges in securing raw material to process the travel documents.
He, however, urged the citizens not to panic as modalities are being put in place by Government to rectify the situation. The assurance comes as US$600 000 has since been availed by Treasury towards the purchase of passport printers.
“The public should not panic (over the passport issue),” said Minister Mathema.
“There is shortage of the special imported paper, ink and other raw materials used for passport printing.
“We are working on it. Yes, we have been facing some challenges, but I would want to assure passport applicants that we will overcome this challenge.”
An investigation conducted by State Media at the RG’s office in Harare showed that people are sleeping in queues in order to apply for the travel documents.
However, only 12 people, on average, are being assisted daily in Harare.
Information gathered also shows that some people who applied for the travel documents last November are yet to get them.
In most cases, the passports that are being processed are for emergency purposes and for people seeking medical attention outside the country as well as those on diplomatic or national duty.
Source: Zim Eye