By Lerato Ndlovu
Government is set to engage a private partner in producing e-passports and national identity documents.
This is part of efforts to clear massive backlog at the registry offices.
Speaking at the post cabinet press briefing, Minister of Information, publicity and Broadcasting Services, Monica Mutsvangwa, said the partnership will increase production capacity to at least 4 million passport each year.
“The cabinet has considered and approved the proposed engagement of a private partner in the Implementation of a National Biometric Database for the Production of e-Passports, National Identity Cards and Birth Certificates.
“The partnership will increase the passport production capacity to four million units per year, resulting not only in the clearance of the current backlog, but also meeting the daily demand and enabling the country’s embassies to issue passports to Zimbabwean citizens abroad,” she said.
This move comes after the Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister Kazembe Kazembe recently stated that he took his time to look into the operations of the Registrar General’s offices, and the production scales.
He further stated that there were now double shifts at the registry office to cover for a severe backlog that seems to have resulted in employees engaging in corrupt activities.
“I have been conducting unplanned visits to the births and deaths registration offices at Market Square and the passport office at Makombe Building, and learnt that the RG’s department introduced double shifts in the production of passports as part of measures to clear the backlog that has accumulated since March 2019 due to the shortage of consumables which require foreign currency to acquire.
“The first shift start at 0800hours to 1600hours, the second one starts at 2000hours to 0400hours.
“With this strategy my Ministry will be in a position to produce between 4 000 and 4 500 passports a day, because before the output was only 2000,” he said.