By Nyashadzashe Ndoro
Registrar General (RG) Clemence Masango has ordered all citizens who paid $53 for an ordinary passport before the fees were raised to $253, to pay the difference of $200 before their travel documents are processed.
Masango announced the development on Thursday during his tour of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Defence, Home Affairs and Security Services at Makombe Building in Harare.
Due to limited consumables, Masango told the Members of Parliament (MP) that the RG’s Office was at the moment only processing emergency passports to clear the backlog for ordinary passports.
“At the moment, the $53 passports are on backlog and not being printed because their charges do not meet the current printing costs.
“We are only printing urgent passports and these are only for those who need to travel urgently such as the sick who need medical attention out of the country or those who work outside like truck drivers, those who live outside Zimbabwe and were allowed to pay (passport) fees in foreign currency.
“We are also printing some for those who need to go outside for studies,” said Masango.
The RG said plans were afoot to purchase consumables for passport printing.
“The consumables were being purchased so that we clear the $53 passport on backlog. When all is in place, we will inform the public.
“Remember the current fees were pegged in USD set in 2009 soon after dollarising. If we were to make sense, just using the bank rate, we all know that when we import material for passports, the $53 is less than US$3 right now,” added Masango.
Recently examination fees by the Zimbabwe School Examinations Council was increased to $190 from $15 for Ordinary Level candidates and $351 from $26 for Advanced Level candidates are beyond the reach of many.
It sparked an outcry among parents, with most saying the hike will make education unaffordable to many. Nehanda Radio