The government has received over 100,000 passport printing booklets which will go a long way in addressing the delays witnessed in the issuance of the critical travelling document.
Immigration and citizen services Principal Secretary (PS) Amb. Julius Bitok said that the passport booklets had been ordered from abroad two months ago.
“As you have been aware there have been delays in the issuance of passports because our stocks were very low but today am happy to announce that from now on, the process of issuance of passports will be faster and efficient and I urge all Kenyans who have applied for their passports to come and pick them since they will be printed in time,” said Bitok.
Speaking at the immigration department headquarters in Nyayo House on Wednesday, the PS thanked Kenyans for being patient as he assured those who want to travel abroad for education, work and other purposes that they can now get their passports and travel at their convenience.
Bitok said that from now henceforth, there will be no cases of adjustment of the number of pages applied for where in the past one could apply for a 66 pages passport only to be told that it is out of stock and they can only get the 45 pages passport or vice versa.
“We are expecting about 20,000 Kenyans who have applied for passports to come for them. Right now, we have received around 100,000 booklets and by the end of this month we are expecting another 100,000 booklets,” assured the PS.
Bitok explained that the government is discussing with different suppliers on the possibility of having a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement so that we don’t have to get the passport booklets from abroad.
“In the near future we are looking at a situation where the passport booklets are manufactured and printed in Kenya. We have just had a discussion with one of the vendors and we are optimistic that soon we will be making these passports here in Kenya,” said Bitok.
He explained that the current government policy is on PPP and the persons they are negotiating with are in this arrangement so that we don’t have to wait for passports to come from abroad.
Bitok explained that producing the passports locally will ensure that the cost of production is cheaper and the benefits will be passed down to the people who will pay less for the passports.
“The current price of a passport is Sh.4,500 and the cost of producing the passport is almost the same and we are trying to negotiate and see if we can reduce the cost and in the PPP arrangement this is definitely possible,” said the PS.
He explained that the cost of the passport is high because of the security checks that it has to go through which is a requirement.
On the issue of corruption at the immigration department and issuance of passports, the PS said that that the government has made the passport application easy and one only needs to log into their e-Citizen account and apply for their passport, they will then be given an appointment to come for their biometrics to be taken and they get their passport within 21 days.
“I want to urge Kenyans not to try to use shortcuts, middlemen and brokers. Use the right channels that is the e-Citizen and you will not have to use any additional money,” explained Bitok.
By Joseph Ng’ang’a