GOVERNMENT will soon allow locals with free funds to pay passports fees in foreign currency with the move only awaiting a Statutory Instrument from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development.
Addressing the post Cabinet press briefing yesterday, Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister Kazembe Kazembe said cabinet approved the move which is expected to ease pressure on the Central Registry which is currently battling a backlog of over 400 000 passports.
“That has been approved by Cabinet and we are waiting for the Statutory Instrument to be in place. We have received requests from various people with free funds and we are waiting for the Statutory Instrument to be in place then we can allow them.”
Finance Minister, Mthuli Ncube weighed in saying that the move is not a u-turn on the government’s de-dollarisation move.
“We are saying that those with free funds can apply for passports in Foreign Currency. We cannot dictate how people use their free funds,” said Minister Ncube.
Related: Watch Video Below: Govt to Clear 400 000 passport backlog in 100 days
Meanwhile, government has also increased the costs of ordinary and emergency passports currently pegged at $53 and $253 respectively, to ZW$150 for an ordinary passport and ZW$600 for an emergency passport.
Turning on strategies to clear the passport backlog currently at 400 000, Minister Kazembe said Treasury had agreed to release funds to help easy the backlog.
“…Treasury has agreed to avail US$6 796 500; 580 200 Euros and ZW$11 781 900 towards meeting the cost of clearing the passport backlog.”
Last year, Government authorised the charging of US$318 for passport applicants in the Diaspora and said the applications will be prioritised.