Passport backlog to be cleared by September

By Tichaona Kurewa

THE Civil Registry Department says it is on course to clear the passport backlog by September.

Efforts such as the acquisition of modern printing press and other ancillary equipment, to clear the passport backlog were scuttled by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Registrar General Henry Machiri, who spoke to ZBC News in Victoria Falls recently, said the civil registry department is working round the clock to clear the passport backlog.

“We are now working on the backlog. We are now doing the 2019 applications and we are hopeful that by September this backlog would have been cleared.

“When we talk of 2019, it doesn’t mean that we have a backlog for 2020 and 2021. Those are the two years under the COVID-19 whereby we were not issuing passports, but we were just dealing with emergencies. Our passport backlog is the last half of 2019,” he said.

Victoria Falls residents who spoke ZBC News expressed gratitude to the Second Republic for easing the process of acquiring civil documents.

“The government has done well in decentralising passports as well clearing the backlog. This will go a long way in reducing criminal activities such as border jumping and others.

“This is good news to us. This will ensure that people travel legally. A passport is important to sectors such as cross border trading, this will help them in their line of business,” a resident said.

Another noted, “We are happy with the developments at the passport offices. We appeal to the government to reduce the passport fees as well,” said another local who spoke to the ZBC News.

In line with the mantra ‘leaving no one and no place behind’, government is escalating efforts to ease the acquisition of civil documents by Zimbabweans, through decentralisation of civil registry offices and acquisition of modern equipment.