Passport processing grinds to standstill in Zimbabwe

Posted by Gabrielle Jacobs on 2 July 2019

Zimbabwe’s Department of the Registrar General was forced to stop issuing passports to citizens. The passport-issuing system has ground to a halt for the foreseeable future, and the economy seems to be the main culprit.

As suspected, the economic situation in the country has taken a hit since the announcement that Zimbabwe will be banning foreign currency. Over a week ago Zim’s Finance Minister announced that the Zimbabwean dollar would be the only acceptable form of currency, whereas before, local transactions could be made in US Dollars, British Pounds, Botswana’s Pula and Rands.

An economic shake-up was expected, yet the knock-on effect seems to have hurt internal processes and administration for Zimbabweans as well now. The government is alleged to be low on the funds necessary for manufacturing costs for passport materials. As the economy dips, many citizens hoping to leave the country or simply get on with business will be effectively trapped inside for an indefinite period.

‘Last month, the urgent applicants were being told to come back at the end of 2020,’ an anonymous official at the Registrar’s Office told news agency Agence France-Press. Realistically it could take well over a year for an urgent passport application to be filed, an untenable situation and inconvenience to all citizens.

The full details of the new monetary system are not entirely clear, however. Many operators in the tourism and foreign hospitality sectors in Victoria Falls, for example, are still accepting the previously accepted currencies as legal tender for the time being.

Image: Pixabay

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