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Govt explains passport production delays

The crisis has generated frustration among those intending to travel abroad for business, medical checkups, visits and emergencies.

The crisis has generated frustration among those intending to travel abroad for business, medical checkups, visits and emergencies.

KAMPALA —The Ministry of Internal Affairs has scaled down the production of passports to 60% so as to undertake a system upgrade.

According to Mr Simon Mundeyi, the ministry spokesperson, they are upgrading to an Automatic Finger Integrated System (AFIS) in a bid to stop passport duplication.

“We cannot produce passports at 100 percent, so we scaled down to about 60 percent. The reason for scaling down production is not as a result of passport shortage. Not at all,” Mr Mundeyi told journalists in Kampala on Monday.

He added that by the end of the month, the upgrade will be complete and normal production will resume.

Mr Mundeyi also explained that the upgrade is aimed at solving the challenges currently being faced in acquiring the new East African Community e-passport.

He said part of the problem cropped up because they were until recently relying on the previous old readable machine system, which was slow.

“Instead of taking three weeks for [processing] an ordinary passport, in some cases, [we] would take close to two months,” Mr Mundeyi said.

“Upgrading the system is partly aimed at resolving this problem,” he added.

He also explained why they are not producing express passports on time.

“We found ourselves in a very big problem of handling express passports. Everybody was expecting to get it as fast. The capacity remained the same, the work station remained the same and our manpower remained the same,” Mr Mundeyi said.

“We had a challenge with express passports because our colleagues in the labour [export market] opted to apply for express passports. We have a total of over 158 companies, each of them has about 500 applicants and above,” he added.

These problems, the ministry said, will be resolved once the system has been upgraded.

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