Govt pushes to clear passport backlog

Ruth Butaumocho, LUSAKA, Zambia

Government has intensified efforts to reduce the passport backlog after Treasury came up with a payment plan to suppliers of consumables who are owed an undisclosed amount of money.

In an interview at the sidelines of the ongoing Fifth Conference of African Ministers responsible for civil registration and statistics here, Registrar-General Mr Clement Masango, who is accompanying the Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Cain Mathema, said it would no longer be a question of when, but how soon the backlog would be cleared since all systems were in place.

“The passport situation still remains a matter of concern,” he said.

“The backlog is still on. We are now at 370 000 applications that need to be attended to.

“On a daily basis we receive an average of 1 200 new applications for passports and we are only able to process 800 applications daily. Which means that on our daily requirements, we are unable to process the other 400, a figure that builds on the backlog.

“However, Government has since made a payment plan to our suppliers, who had withheld services so that they can resume supplies as soon as possible.”

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