Passport fees go up, government

By ZBC Reporter
PASSPORT fees have gone up with the ordinary passport which was pegged at ZWL$53 going up to ZWL$150 and the emergency passport has gone up from ZWL$253 to ZWL$600 with immediate effect as government strives to clear the current backlog which stands at 400 000.
Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Senator Monica Mutsvangwa made the announcement while addressing members of the media at the Post Cabinet Briefing held in the capital Tuesday.
“The other report which cabinet received was from the Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage, tabled by honorable Kazembe Kazembe on the strategy to clear the passport backlog at the Central Registry,” Senator Mutsvangwa said.
“Cabinet considered and approved that the current treasury payment facility of US$1 million per month which is being paid towards debt settlement be maintained, that treasury avails ZWL$6 796 500 to make sure that the backlog is cleared. The cost of ordinary passports which is currently pegged at ZWL$53 be increased to ZWL$150 and the emergency passport which is going for ZWL$253 be pegged at ZWL$600 and this is all done to make sure that there is enough money to meet the cost of clearing the passport backlog.”
While responding to questions from members of the media, Minister Kazembe said, the cost of the passport is justified as government is trying to ensure the public has access to the important document.
“We understand that many of you say the cost is not much if the money is converted to USDollars but a passport is an important document which every citizen has the right to have and the Government is not seeking to make profit from the passports and we will ensure they remain accessible in price, since the Passport Office is a public service, not a profit-making business.”
Minister Kazembe also highlighted that he is confident with the strategy that has been put in place which will likely see the backlog cleared within six months. Cabinet has also approved the payment of passport costs in foreign currency following requests by citizens with access to free funds who have implored government to open that facility for them. Foreign currency will however only be accepted at the Central Registry after a Statutory Instrument is Gazetted to that effect.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development which is owed over ZWL$200 million from annual renewal payments from all holders of mining titles. All holders of mining titles are expected to pay for their renewals on or before April 30 or risk losing their titles.