HOME Affairs minister Cain Mathema says approximately 100 000 passport applicants should have their documents by year-end.

Addressing journalists in Harare yesterday, Mathema said increased passport production hinged on his ministry being able to settle debts and ensure supplies of consumables for passports production.

“I would like now to advise that the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, on a monthly basis, has allocated resources to retire the outstanding debts in relation to technical expertise and supplies of consumables and paper. At this rate, we expect that by April 2020, significant progress would have been made to resolve that matter,” Mathema said.

“While the impact of the measures taken so far is considerable, in that, about 100 000 people who applied for passports will take delivery of such documents by end of December, with the arrival of additional material at the end of November 2019 or early December 2019, we expect to double the number of those getting passports within two months of taking delivery.”

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Passport production in the country has been lagging behind, with a staggering backlog of about 370 000 booklets, some of the applications dating back to 2018.

Production had recently been limited to 750 passports per day for emergency situations.

He also said his ministry, in collaboration with Foreign Affairs and International Trade ministry, had agreed to create a platform for Zimbabweans in the diaspora to apply and pay for passports without necessarily having to travel back home.

“On a more permanent basis, we have agreed with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade that the ministry should regularise the movement of the diplomatic bags to allow people in the diaspora to apply and pay for passports at the embassies closer to them,” he said.