The Registrar-General's Office has started producing 8 000 passports daily with a view to clear the 280 000 backlog that has accumulated at the Passport Office, Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Cain Mathema has said.
Addressing the media yesterday, Minister Mathema said passport fees remained at $53 and no increases had been effected.
"Government has not increased passport fees. There are no increases on fees for passports whatsoever. The situation remains the same and people must not panic. We will do the best we can and indeed we are doing that.
"The backlog is at around 280 000 and the machinery we have, has the capacity of producing 8 000 passports per day. Our aim is to produce as many as 8 000 passports per day in order to get rid of the backlog that has accumulated over the years.
"The public must not panic. We will provide the passports that are required by the people," said Minister Mathema.
Minister Mathema said plans were underway to decentralise the Passport Office to ensure people in the rural communities have easy access to passports.
"We also want the Passport Office to be as near as possible to every community in Zimbabwe. Why should people from Tsholotsho come to Harare for passports? That was done in Rhodesia and not in Zimbabwe anymore," he said.
Minister Mathema said the challenges that affected the production of passports last week were now history.
"The challenges that we faced last week are now a thing of the past. We are now working to reduce the queues at the passport offices," he said.