- The PS who was accompanied by the Immigration Director General noted that as part of its long-term plans to address the challenges, they intend to procure two heavy-duty printers, 30 barcode readers and five passport scanners.
- The Directorate also intends to decentralize passport services to all counties and open more passport application offices in Nairobi to decongest Nyayo House.
The government now says there is a backlog of 88, 295 passports even as it announces new measures aimed at ensuring it is cleared within the next three months.
The accumulation, which he said has built up over the last two years, has been due to a shortage of e-passport booklets and frequent breakdown of personalization machines and limited storage capacity of current servers.
Appearing Tuesday before the National Assembly’s Regional Integration Committee, Principal Secretary Julius Bitok said following the breakdown of the two aged printers in April, the backlog was aggravated.
“The Directorate has two aged e-passport machines with each of them having the capacity to print 800 per day…M2 printer broke down in April hence the need to replace a laser engraving unit that could only be procured from the manufacturer based in Germany,” he stated.
“There is now an urgent need for servicing of the personalization machine 1 (M1),” he added.
Bitok however told the Committee chaired by Kipipiri MP Wanjiku Muhia that said they have put in place necessary plans to ensure ease in delivery of the documents.
This includes the procurement process for an additional 305, 000 booklets to clear the backlog and the implementation of a day and night shift system at the production unit to maximize printing.
The Directorate, the PS added, has also reinstalled the queue management system to decongest and manage crowds at the counters and restoration of messaging on the e-citizen to help in tracking the status of the application.
“We have also designed, tested and deployed the SMS interactive system to ease delivery of passports and thus reducing personal enquiries,” he added.
While absolving the Kenya Kwanza administration from any blame over the hitch, Bitok argued that the introduction of the Huduma Namba affected the production process.
“The problem we are having now started two years ago. The government shifted its focus, it wanted to consolidate the creation of documents hence the delay in signing of contracts and procurement of vital items by the Department of Immigration,” he added.
Payment of service providers that service the software and systems and delays in the acquisition of passport booklets which he said usually take six months, he added, have been the other major challenges.
“New passports are very sensitive documents such that you cannot do shortcuts, you got to have credible companies supplying…unless you order them six months in advance it is very difficult to get them,” he said.
The PS who was accompanied by the Immigration Director General noted that as part of its long-term plans to address the challenges, they intend to procure two heavy-duty printers, 30 barcode readers and five passport scanners.
The Directorate also intends to decentralize passport services to all counties and open more passport application offices in Nairobi to decongest Nyayo House.
“We are initiating the procurement of two upgraded technology personalization printers with a capacity of printing 250 per hour and also send more officers to foreign missions as well as increase mobile outreaches,” said the PS.