BY BLESSED MHLANGA
ZIMBABWEAN citizens staying in the diaspora will now pay passport fees in foreign currency, in a move Home Affairs minister Kazembe Kazembe said will assist the Register General’s office to provide them with a quick service.
The diasporas will now pay USD$318 as passport fees as government moves to mitigate the current challenges it faces in the production of the important travel document.
“As a way of assisting the department top attend to requirements for passports by citizens in the diaspora, government has therefore authorised the department to charge USD$318 for passports in respect of those in the diaspora. The applications will be prioritised on urgent basis,” Kazembe said.
Government is currently seating on a backlog of 359 288 passports some of which were applied for last August and yet to be produced owing to a shortage of foreign currency and low fees.
“The situation has been exacerbated by the low passport fees being charged by the department. The department is charging all its clients in local currency yet consumables for production of passports are imported and require foreign currency,” he said.
Passport fees fell from USD$53 for an ordinary passport to $53 which is equivalent to USD$4 on the intermarket bank rate.