Passport Fee Increase Grossly Unreasonable: MDC Alliance

The MDC Alliance has bemoaned the recent passport fee adjustments announced by the Government saying they are anti-people and unreasonable.

Recently the Government reviewed passport application fees with an ordinary passport now costing US$60 while the day application will now attract US$200, payable at the average US$: ZW$ exchange rate.

In a statement, MDC Alliance Secretary for Home Affairs, Rittah Ndlovu said the passport fee review is an admission that the Zimbabwe dollar has collapsed despite claims of its viability by Treasury.

“The MDC Alliance condemns the latest increase in passport fees announced by the Minister of Information. Our main concern is that the new fees are unaffordable for the common person whose wages are in Zimbabwe Dollars and have been eroded by inflation and contradictory, unsound monetary policies by the regime in Harare. The maladministration is compounded by the fact that most workers including teachers, doctors and other civil servants do not earn United States Dollars.

“The pegging of the fees in United States dollars constitutes to an admission that the Zimbabwe Dollar has collapsed despite attempts by Treasury to contend that the local dollar is the only viable currency in the country. The prohibitive fees are an infringement of citizens’ right to freedom of movement enshrined in section 66(1)(c) of the Constitution which entitles every citizen the right to a passport and travel documents.” said Ndlovu

She said the announcement did not give a clear timeframe on how citizens who have applied for the traveling document will receive them.

“To compound matters, the announcement of the new passport fees has not been accompanied by a clear indication of the timeframe within which citizens who have paid the fees will receive their passports. The Registrar General’s Office is already grappling with an extreme backlog and no clear plan has been set out to ensure the backlog is dealt with expeditiously.

“We call for the alignment of workers’ wages with the reality that basic state services are now being charged in United States Dollars. Civil servants, teachers and doctors must be paid a living wage to ensure that they can afford basic identity and travel documents such as a passport. The continued implementation of anti-poor economic policies that rob the common person of a decent wage must end forthwith.” she said.

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