Zimbabwe increases passport fees in bid to raise forex

HARARE – Zimbabwe’s government is set to increase the price of passports in an endeavour to raise enough foreign currency to produce the documents as it tries to clear a backlog of over 300 000 applications by next March.

Registrar-General Clemence Masango told journalists that the Treasury would have the final say on the adjustments, Pindula News reported on Monday.

The plan to deal with the backlog includes increasing production to 4 000 passports a day as the daily shift which normally produces 2 000 per day has been doubled.

Last week, Zimbabweans finally got access to new low-denomination currency that authorities hope will end chronic cash shortages, but banks maintained an existing weekly withdrawal limit of $20, frustrating many customers.

The new 2 and 5 Zimbabwe dollar notes and coins were scheduled to start circulating last week Monday but failed to appear on time, causing confusion at banks.

Shortages of cash, foreign currency, fuel and power are the most visible signs of the southern African nation’s worst economic crisis since 2008, when hyperinflation forced the government to ditch its currency.

African News Agency (ANA) and Reuters