Applicants turn to middlemen over delays at passport office
What you need to know:
- Regulations governing the issuance of passports stipulate that express passports can be obtained in four days while ordinary passports take two weeks but this has not been the case.
Ugandans have raised concerns over the delay in issuance of new passports as middlemen take advantage of the situation to make money.
When this reporter visited the passport collection centre in Kyambogo, Kampala yesterday, hundreds of desperate Ugandans were seen queuing in the scorching sunshine.
Regulations governing the issuance of passports stipulate that express passports can be obtained in four days while ordinary passports take two weeks. However, this seems not to be the case.
Mr Ronald Maseruka, a resident of Mukono District, who paid for an express passport, reveals that he has been going to the passport collection centre for a month in vain.
“The process of collecting a ready passport is hard. Too many delays. Middlemen ask for money from us to quicken the process. Let the ministry make the system quicker and just,” Maseruka appealed yesterday.
Following the April 4 deadline for phasing out old passports, many Ugandans have since flocked the area even after the government clarified it will not stop issuing passports.
Ms Suzan Sserwadda, an applicant, said she was given an appointment of last week having completed the online application but the long queues have frustrated her.
Meanwhile, labour export companies have blamed the delays on incompetent government workers.
“It is not like we are getting free things. We are paying for our services and products. If there is increased demand, they should increase the number of workers at the station,” Abigal Charlot, a manager of Tirajo Labour Company, said.
READ: Heart patients want express passports for treatment abroad
But Mr Simon Mundeyi, the deputy passport controller at Immigration, said they have increased working hours at the passport centre by opening at 7am and closing at 6pm. “This has been made possible by use of a shift system and planning to increase our work stations going forward,” Mr Mundeyi said.
He also noted that some indisciplined Ugandans who show up at the passport centre without following appointment cause unnecessary crowding.
“l am calling upon Ugandans who have no urgent trips to make schedules and appointments and stick to them. No need to panic as we shall continue issuing passports even after the deadline,” he added.
Mr Mundeyi said lately there are more Ugandans travelling out of the country to seek employment, study, medical treatment and leisure.
ALSO READ: Good to spread e-passport offices