By RUTENDO NGARA
THE Zimbabwean government says it will clear an 80 000 passport backlog by the end of next month despite a breakdown of its printing machine in Harare last week.
Speaking to the Daily News yesterday in the wake of the machine breakdown which led to the suspension of printing of passports, Registrar General Henry Machiri said despite the development, the passport backlog would be cleared soon.
“The department, in collaboration with our partner Garsu Pasaulis (GP), has made significant improvements in the issuance of electronic passports (e-passports) and since January 2022, a total of 140 000 passports have been issued.
“In July 2022, the department resumed clearance of the passport backlog which was 176 000.The backlog has now been reduced to 80 000 as at 10 August 2022. All things being equal, this backlog will be cleared by the end of September 2022,” Machiri said.
He also said mobile civil registration, which is ongoing, was progressing well as more than two million people have been registered and also that they expect to complete e-passport projects in all the provinces by the end of the year.
“The mobile registration exercise is also currently underway and to date, more than 2 000 000 civil registration documents, that is birth certificates, death certificates and national identity documents have been issued. The programme is expected to be completed by 30 September 2022.
“The e-passport project has also been successfully cascaded to Bulawayo, Lupane, Chitungwiza, Murewa and Hwange. Recently, the project was completed in Gweru and Beitbridge, and by the end of October 2022 it will be completed in all the provinces.”
Machiri told the Daily News at the weekend that production of passports in Harare was expected to resume soon.
“It is true that we had a breakdown … but we are working tirelessly to rectify the problem. There is no passport printing at the moment.
“The impact is not that big. As soon as the engineers are done, things will be back to normal.
“I cannot give a specific date on when we are going to start printing passports, but … our engineers are on the ground.
“As soon as we are up, we will work over time to clear that small backlog caused by down time.
“This breakdown can even happen at banks when they say their networks are down. There is nothing much to worry about,” he said. – Daily News