Sunday, April 2, 2023

Kenya runs out of booklets for printing passports. No cash to buy new ones

If you have applied for a new passport at the Department of Immigration, you are likely to wait for months. This is because the highly critical department has run out of booklets to print new passports and there is no money to buy new ones.

This sad state of affairs has been revealed by the Immigration and Citizen Services Director-General Alexander Muteshi.

According to Muteshi, the department is in dire need of Sh. 150 million for the acquisition of new passport booklets.

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Muteshi further says that despite the department collecting about Sh. 12 billion annually in revenue, it has remained starved without any monies coming in from the National treasury to help it run its operations smoothly. He lamented that currently, the department has no money to buy newer and more efficient printers or pay its workers.

 “We are appealing to this committee to help push the National Treasury to release the funds so that critical service delivery can be offered,” said Muteshi.

Muteshi further said that the printers currently used are old and obsolete. They have a capacity of only 1,500 passports per day.

“If we buy new and modern printers, we will be able to reduce the backlog by printing 10,000 passports per day,” he said.

Over the recent months, the department has been suffering printer breakdowns that have resulted in huge backlogs. “All passports in Kenya are produced in Nairobi. The printing machine has broken down and there is nothing we can do,” a source at the Immigration Directorate told Bizna Kenya during a recent printer breakdown.

Initially, the Ministry of Interior had stated that it would take ten days for passports to be produced. It now remains to be seen how the department and the government will maneuver the upcoming deadline for the migration from old passports to the new generation passports.

The old generation passports will not be usable from December 1, 2022.

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