from MARCUS MUSHONGA in Harare, Zimbabwe
HARARE, (CAJ News) – ZIMBABWE is battling to clear a backlog of passport applications as a result of the insufficient money to procure material.
More than 380 000 passport applications are yet to be processed as a result.
Registrar General, Clemence Masango, told media the problems had peaked between last year and August this year, coinciding with the country enduring its worst economic crisis in decades.
“We were unable to receive any material from the suppliers who were protesting delays in payments,” Masango said while addressing editors in the capital Harare.
He confirmed the government had since managed to strike a deal with suppliers and was paying them US$1 million (R14,7 million) monthly.
It could not be ascertained how much the government owes suppliers.
Masango said his office was now processing 2 000 daily.
“It will take time to clear the back log,” he said.
Masango appealed for patience from Zimbabweans.
There has been an incessant demand for passports over the years in Zimbabwe as millions flee economic hardships or engage in cross border trade.
Others without travelling documents risk life and limb by entering through illegal entry points or across the Limpopo River to South Africa.
The country’s economic meltdown is blamed on the policies of then-president, Robert Mugabe, now late.
His successor, Emmerson Mnagagwa has battled to revive Zimbabwe’s economic fortunes.
– CAJ News