Members of Parliament (MPs) have approved reforms put in place to clear passport backlog at the Directorate of Immigration.
After a fact-finding visit to the immigration headquarters at Nyayo house, the National Assembly’s Departmental Committee on Administration and Security expressed optimism that the reforms will help to reduce the waiting time for new passports.
According to a press statement released on September 4 by the ministry of Interior and National Administration, the reforms have seen the introduction of day and night shift to help in reducing the backlog.
“The reforms have seen an introduction of a day and night shift that has raised the number of passports printed daily to 4000 up from 1,500. Over 100,000 passports were printed last month reducing the backlog to around 43,000 passports,” reads the statement in part.
Reforms to Clear Passport Backlogs
Moreover, the Gabriel Tongoyo-led committee called for urgent implementation of the National Assembly directive to Treasury allowing Immigration to retain a portion of revenue generated by the Directorate to fund booklets and other recurrent expenses to forestall another backlog.
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“Once the resources have been availed, the printer is made available and the working force is there, they can be able to do the printing of passports without any problem,” Tongoyo stated.
He further added that the ongoing procurement of two additional printers will boost the printing capacity to over 5,000 passports thereby making it possible to issue the document within seven days of application.
Furthermore, the lawmakers challenged the government to consider setting up mobile passport issuance offices across the country to enable more Kenyans obtain the document easily.
The MPs called for the crackdown on suspected brokers and corruption cartels in Nyayo House to be extended to Immigration officers abetting the vice.
Nonetheless, Immigration and Citizen Services Principal Secretary Julius Bitok revealed that the revenue raised from passports had risen from Ksh14B to around Ksh20B sustained by a surge of applications by Kenyans seeking foreign jobs and further studies abroad.
Bitok revealed plans by the government to cut down on the waiting time for new passports to as low as three days with more investments in printing equipment.