The Zimbabwean government has responded to public pressure regarding the proposed fees for obtaining a passport. Initially set at US$200 in the 2024 budget proposal, the fee for an ordinary passport has now been adjusted to US$150, as announced in a recent Government Gazette.
The Finance Minister, Mthuli Ncube, had initially presented a budget proposing an increase from US$120 to US$200 for an ordinary passport. However, due to intense public outcry, the government reconsidered and revised the fee down to US$150.
According to the amended regulations outlined in the Government Gazette issued this week, emergency passports will now cost US$250.
The Gazette states, “It is hereby notified that the Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage minister, in terms of section 22 of the Citizenship of Zimbabwe Act [Chapter 4:01], has made the following regulations… The fees payable for obtaining one passport shall be: (a) ordinary-passport … USD150; (b) emergency-passport … USD250. The following additional fee shall be charged for every electronically readable passport application to obtain a quick response (QR) code … USD20.”
Passports have become increasingly sought after as many Zimbabweans seek opportunities abroad due to economic challenges. The latest data from the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency indicates a national unemployment rate of 47.8%, with a more pronounced impact on females (23.7%) compared to males (19%).
Zimbabweans, particularly those not formally employed, often travel to South Africa to purchase goods unavailable or too expensive in Zimbabwe for resale. The adjustment in passport fees is seen as a response to the economic difficulties faced by citizens and a recognition of the importance of facilitating travel for those seeking opportunities outside the country.
Source: NewsDay Zimbabwe