Tuesday, 17 December 2019

NO PASSPORT FEES : MINISTER


THE government has allayed fears that passport fees will be hiked soon, making the travel document inaccessible to ordinary citizens who are bearing the brunt of a collapsing economy.

Addressing journalists in Harare yesterday, Home Affairs minister, Kazembe Kazembe said passports were essential documents that citizens were supposed to have.

“Passports are documents which our citizens are supposed to have, so government will still be subsidising them, but we are simply saying the fees people are paying are not sustainable.”

He dismissed rumours on social media that passports had gone up from $53 to $530.

“I am not aware of it, the fees haven’t gone up. The last time we spoke about it, that issue was raised and I simply mentioned that there was need to discuss, and consider (it).”

“The fees we are currently using were arrived at in 2010 when the exchange rate was US$1:$1, but basically now you would appreciate that the exchange rate is now at US$1 as to $15 or $16 and yet people are still paying the same fees compared to when it was 1:1”

The ministers said all consumables were imported and costs were in foreign currency and there is need to revisit the fee.

“There may be need to revisit that, but that hasn’t been done yet. If that is to be done it needs to go through proper channels, there are procedures to be followed and gets to a stage where the fees and increases have been approved and then we notify the citizens. As of now the local fees haven’t gone up,” he said.

“I would not know exactly the amount needed, that is a technical question and the Registrar-General would have the best answer. All I know is that costs are way more than what people are currently paying so the government is actually subsiding.’ 

The registry department is currently charging diasporans who require passports to pay in forex. Kazembe said so far, as of Thursday last week, 47 diasporans had applied for passports and also collected them in 24 hours.

Meanwhile, the government has been engaging the Russian government to seek possible avenues of co-operation that would benefit the country. A memorandum of understanding has been signed between the two governments.

The areas include the economy, technology and education where currently 36 students are in Russia for short-term courses. Newsday

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