Members of Parliament have given their approval to reforms being undertaken to clear the backlog of passports at the Directorate of Immigration.
The National Assembly’s Departmental Committee on Administration and Security was on a fact-finding visit to Nyayo House which hosts the Immigration headquarters expressed optimism that the reforms will also cut down on the waiting time for new passports.
The reforms have seen the introduction of a day and night shift that has raised the number of passports printed daily to 4000 up from 1,500.
Over 100,000 passports were printed last month reducing the backlog to around 43,000 passports.
The Committee Chairman Gabriel Tongoyo urged for the urgent implementation of the National Assembly directive to the Treasury allowing Immigration to retain a portion of the revenue generated by the Directorate to fund booklets and other recurrent expenses to forestall another backlog.
“Once the resources have been availed, the printer is made available and the working force is there, they can be able to do the printing of passports without any problem.”
He said the ongoing procurement of additional two printers will boost the printing capacity to over 5,000 passports thereby making it possible to issue the document within seven days of application.
The MPs challenged the government to consider setting up mobile passport issuance offices across the country to enable more Kenyans to obtain the document easily.
They called for the crackdown on suspected brokers and corruption cartels in Nyayo House to be extended to Immigration officers abetting the vice.
Four brokers are currently awaiting prosecution after they were arrested in Nyayo house on suspicions of engaging in corruption and fleecing passport applicants. Immigration and Citizen Services PS Julius Bitok revealed that the revenue raised from passports had risen from Ksh 14B to around Ksh20B buoyed by a surge of applications by Kenyans seeking foreign jobs and further studies abroad.
He said the government is working to cut down on the waiting time for new passports to as low as three days with more investments in printing equipment.
Also present was the Immigration Director Evelyn Cheluget.