Fidelis Munyoro Harare Bureau—
President Robert Mugabe yesterday commissioned a state-of-the-art passport production centre at KGVI, which prints 16,000 booklets daily. This development will eliminate the long queues that over the years characterised the Registrar-General’s Office. Long queues and sleeping overnight to obtain a passport has been a daily order at the passport office.
Commissioning the centre, President Mugabe said Zimbabwe remained committed to the adherence to robust standards of travel documents and international security. “We’re happy as a country to be among the pioneers of e-passport production,” said President Mugabe.
He urged the Home Affairs Ministry to explore ways of further reducing the cost of obtaining passports and other travel documents, and the decentralisation of the process.
“We also should ensure that our people can easily obtain these documents, not too far away from their homes throughout the country,” he said. President Mugabe said the e-passport would boost the country’s security by enhancing border controls, in addition to expediting the processing of travellers at immigration points.
He said it would also thwart the production of fake travel documents. “The achievement we’re witnessing today is a result of passionate commitment to excellence and strict management of resources. “I would like to encourage others in government to emulate the continuous innovation and improved business process in order to improve service delivery as displayed here,” said the President.
The introduction of e-passports, said President Mugabe, also marked an important step forward in the implementation of the Home Affairs Command and Control System (HACCSY) that is spearheaded by the Zimbabwe Republic Police, and extended to the immigration department under the same ministry.
The President said a similar approach should be used to bring to fruition the other key components, such as automated fingerprint identification system (AFIS) and the computerised border management system envisioned under HACCSY.
The new passport production system was established with technologies provided by Japanese companies — Marubeni Corporation, Marpless, Uno Seisakusho and Toppan Insatsu Printing in partnership with GET. These Japanese companies’ involvement in the project was made possible by the introduction from NIP Global, an Israeli IT company.
Speaking at the same occasion, Japanese Amabssador to Zimbabwe Yoshi Tenadi Hiraishi, expressed confidence that the centre would greatly contribute to the improvement of Zimbabwe’s essential social infrastructure by reinforcing the country’s capacity to produce passports both in quantity and quality.
“I’m very pleased and excited to note that this has been realised by utilising Japanese technologies,” he said. “In addition, let me ask everybody to pay attention to the high quality service of Japanese companies, which have an internationally established reputation.”
Looking at the occasion in the context of bilateral relations between the two countries, Hariashi said the commissioning of the centre could be regarded as an important milestone to mark the start of nourishing bilateral relations between the two countries following President Mugabe’s recent visit to Japan.
President Mugabe was in Japan last week where he and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe signed a Joint Statement in which both leaders agreed to further strengthen the two countries’ bilateral relationships in the field of economic, technical and other co-operation.