Government has authorised the Civil Registry Department to charge US$318 for passports to diasporans who are facing challenges in getting travelling documents according to Home Affairs Minister, Kazembe Kazembe in a press statement.
The just reshuffled Minister says the move has been done as a way of assisting the Department to attend to requirements for passports by citizens in the diaspora.
“The Ministry is aware of the high expectation from members of the public for timely provision of service delivery particularly in the areas of issuance of travel documents. The Ministry is also aware of what citizens are going through especially those living abroad whose passports have expired,” Kazembe says.
“Citizens in the diaspora need to have valid passports in order to regularise their stay in the host countries. As a way of assisting the Department to attend to requirements for passports by citizens in the diaspora, Government has therefore authorised the Department to charge US318 for passports, in respect of those in the diaspora.”
The Minister also reveals that the Civil Registry Department is experiencing a 359 288 backlog dating back to August 2018 in the production of passports.
“This is mainly due to the limited availability of foreign currency to procure the required consumables such as ink, films, ribbon and passport paper,” Kazembe says.
“The situation has been exacerbated by the low passport fees being charged by the Department.”
“The Department is charging all its clients in local currency yet consumables for the production of passports are imported and require foreign currency,” went on Kazembe.
Former Home Affairs Minister had earlier on raised hope to finish passports applied in 2018 by December this year.
“At the rate at which we are moving, we hope that by the second quarter of year 2020, significant progress should have been made to resolve this matter,” Minister Cain Mathema had said before being shuffled to another Ministry.