EXCLUSIVE: Zanu PF chief whip Pupurai Togarepi speaks on passport prices

Cde Pupurai Togarepi

Zanu PF chief whip urges three-tier system for passport issuance to ensure access for all Zimbabweans

Pupurai Togarepi, the Chief Whip of Zanu PF, has called for the government to adopt a three-tier system for issuing passports in order to ensure that every Zimbabwean has access to this essential travel document.

Togarepi made this recommendation during a recent debate on the budget, responding to Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube’s proposal to increase passport fees starting in January.

Originally, Minister Ncube had suggested raising the charges for an ordinary passport from US$120 to US$200, but due to widespread criticism, he revised it to US$150. Additionally, the cost of an emergency passport would be set at US$200 under the proposed changes.

Expressing concerns about the steep fees, Togarepi suggested implementing a three-tier pricing system that would cater to different income brackets. While supporting the idea of increasing passport fees to reflect economic realities, he stressed the importance of ensuring that the costs remain proportional and do not discourage individuals from exercising their right to obtain an identity document.

“I have no problem with us charging economic fees on passports, but I would recommend a three-tier pricing system,” Togarepi stated during the budget debate.

“Having an identity document is a right.”

Togarepi’s proposal highlights the need to strike a balance between generating revenue for the government and ensuring accessibility for all citizens. The cost of passports plays a crucial role in determining the ability of individuals to travel internationally, pursue educational opportunities abroad, or engage in business ventures beyond Zimbabwe’s borders.

Passports are not only travel documents but also serve as a form of identification, enabling individuals to access various services and exercise their rights as citizens. Therefore, it is essential to consider the socio-economic implications when setting passport fees.

As the debate continues, stakeholders and policymakers are urged to carefully evaluate the proposed fee structure, taking into account the potential impact on different segments of society. By adopting a three-tier system, the government could potentially mitigate the financial burden on lower-income individuals while still ensuring sustainable revenue generation.

The issue of passport fees and accessibility remains a significant concern for many Zimbabweans who aspire to travel or require a passport for personal and professional reasons. Striking a balance between affordability and revenue generation will be crucial in enabling broader access to this essential travel document, ultimately benefiting all Zimbabwean citizens.

As discussions progress, the government faces the task of finding a solution that addresses the concerns raised while ensuring the sustainability of passport services and meeting the needs of the population.

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