By A Correspondent- The Registrar-General’s (RG) Office says it has issued over 50 000 electronic passports (e-passports) at its offices in Harare and Bulawayo from January to April this year.
In an interview with The Sunday Mail, the Registrar-General, Henry Machiri, said there are plans to open eight other provincial e-passport offices by the end of June this year. Said Machiri:
We started producing passports on January 18, 2022, and as of today (April 21, 2022), we have issued 51 080 e-passports.
These are e-passports applied for by people in Harare since January and since March for those in Bulawayo.
I can now say that we have enough material and we have ramped up production.
With the current system, the Government signed a Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT), whereby GP invests and they will be paid gradually.
So, in terms of consumables, they are now readily available.
He also said the other eight provinces will have passport offices in their provincial centres by 30 June. Machiri said:
The other provincial towns should have these centres by June 30, as was promised by early this year.
We still stand by that date. These are Lupane in Matabeleland North, Gwanda in Matabeleland South, Gweru for Midlands, Masvingo for Masvingo, Mutare for Manicaland, and Marondera for Mashonaland East, Chinhoyi for Mashonaland West and Bindura for Mashonaland Central.
On the issue of the online passport application system, whose booking system is now live, Machiri said the system seeks to shorten the time applicants will spend at the RG offices as they will apply for the documents in the comfort of their homes or offices. He said:
It is ongoing work but I can assure you that before the end of the year, it will be possible that people can apply in the comfort of their offices or homes.
However, this does not mean that one applies and the passport is delivered to their doorstep. A travel document is a secured document and has to be given to the rightful owner.
So one can apply online and be notified of when to come to have their biometric information taken so that we make sure that the information on their passport is correct, this is the international standard.
All this seeks to shorten the time when the client is at our offices.