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Zimbabwe Government To Maintain Passport Fees In Foreign Currency

5ย days agoTue, 14 May 2024 07:52:12 GMT
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Zimbabwe Government To Maintain Passport Fees In Foreign Currency

The government has decided to maintain passport fees in foreign currency, even after introducing the new ZiG currency, despite public calls for making this critical document accessible in the local currency.

Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion Deputy Minister, David Kuda Mnangagwa said the government has a contractual obligation with the company that helped to establish the electronic passport system that passport fees shall be charged in foreign currency.

The new e-passport was introduced in December 2021, with the cost of an ordinary passport set at US$150 and an emergency one set at US$250.

A Lithuanian company, Garsu Pasaulis, partnered with the Government to introduce the e-passport.

Following the introduction of ZiG last month, Zimbabweans have been asking why the government continues charging passport fees in foreign currency while arresting people who buy forex on the streets.

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Senator Meliwe Phuti raised the same issue in Parliament last week and asked why the ZiG cannot be used to pay for passports, among other services.

Responding to Phuti, Mnangagwa said the passport issue was unique as the investor has to recoup its investment. He said (via The Herald):

I believe that the social contract and the mechanics around it are being discussed. It is a sensitive area that we donโ€™t want to rush or expediently go to without having spoken to all the stakeholders.

Similar to some of the PPP arrangements that are there, I think the Government holds the sanctity of contract sacrosanct. So, you would find that there were cases where you would spend days at the passport office.

An investor came in, and part of those arrangements included foreign currency pricing. These are stamped-in documents that need to be reviewed by the relevant ministries.

The relevant authorities and stakeholders are looking at how we can possibly have all these areas within the ZiG domain.

However, journalist Hopewell Chinโ€™ono, a government critic, said the issue of contractual obligations as reported by The Herald is false. He said:

โ€ฆ the truth is that influential political figures involved in the passport deal prefer foreign currency over the local one, despite claims that the latter is backed by real gold and foreign exchange reserves.

Why wouldnโ€™t they accept the local currency under such circumstances if it is truly backed by gold and foreign exchange reserves?

As long as the ZiG is not accepted by its issuer, the Government, it will soon become worthless.

Where do they expect Zimbabweans to obtain US Dollars when banks donโ€™t have them, except through the black market?

More:ย Pindula News

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