𝐓𝐮𝐞𝐬𝐝𝐚𝐲 𝐉𝐮𝐥𝐲 𝟐𝟓, 𝟐𝟎𝟐𝟑.
The National Assembly Committee on Regional Integration chaired by Hon. Wanjiku Muhia (Kipipiri) has called on the State Department of Immigration and Citizen Services to hasten the clearance of the 88,000 pending passport applications.
During a meeting with the Department’s Principal Secretary Amb. Julius Bitok, the Committee sought to understand the measures that have so far been put in place to ensure a reduction of the backlog on issuance of passports, as well as the strategies that the Department has initiated to minimize the turnaround time of passport applications.
According to Amb. Bitok, the delays have been occasioned by a shortage of e-passport booklets, breakdown of one of the two e-passport printers, and limited storage capacity of current servers due to exponential growth of passport applications.
“The directorate has two aged e-Passport printing machines procured in 2015/2016 Financial Year. Each printer has the capacity to print 800 passports per day. The M2 printer broke down on April requiring replacement of the laser engraving unit that could only be procured from the manufacturer based in Germany. This aggravated the backlog,” Amb. Bitok told the Committee.
PS Bitok further stated that lack of adequate funding has hindered the department from achieving its obligations that include; prompt delivery of passport booklets and servicing of the passport printers.
However, In his submission before the Legislators the PS disclosed that the printing machine has now been fixed and potentially, the 88,000-passport backlog will have been cleared by November this year. He also told the committee that the turn-around time for passport application will reduce from the current two weeks to just seven days.