WINDHOEK - The Home Affairs and Immigration Minister, Frans Kapofi, has revealed that the issue of passport shortage could be resolved by September.
Responding to Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) Member of Parliament, Jennefer Van Den Heever, in the National Assembly on the issue of passport shortages, Kapofi said the passport books will be received in Namibia between August and the beginning of September.
The booklets were already ordered from an overseas supplier last year. However, he said the process of finalising the sales contract and meeting the procurement process requirements suffered delays, which resulted in stock at hand running low. Consequently, Kapofi said the ministry saw the need to ration its small available stock to cater for the most critical travels.
According to him, in June 2018, the ministry placed an order for passports with their supplier of Namibian documents.
“At the time of placing the order, we had sufficient stock; enough for about 10-12 months. Passports in a normal situation, as per past experience and initial understanding with the supplier, would have taken between 12-16 weeks to be delivered from the date of ordering,” he stated.
Further, he said many efforts have been made from last year to date, including written communications and meetings with the supplier and he assured that the passports would now be received as anticipated.
In the process, Kapofi noted that the ministry also learned some lessons and has created a new common understanding with the supplier on dealing with future orders.
However, he maintained that it should be made clear the category of passport shortages that are being experienced is for Namibian ordinary electronic passports, which is a national permit.
The PDM MP wanted to know what measures are in place to ensure that countries such as those in Europe refusing to recognise the legitimacy of brown passports are convinced otherwise.
Kapofi explained that the travel document has been in circulation for years now and it is the first time that Namibia is getting complaints from certain countries.
He said the ministry has made public statements apologising to Namibians and all other persons and entities that may have been directly or indirectly affected.
He added that the ministry also asked the international community to accept the Namibian travel document, as it is legitimate and falls within the International Civil Travel Document (ICAO) standards.
“We have also written to the Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation about the shortage of ordinary passports that we are experiencing and that we are issuing a travel document to Namibians, refugees recognised in Namibia, and a few persons that have been living in Namibia for many yeas but who consider themselves as stateless,” said Kapofi.
According to him, both these categories of non-Namibians are lawful residents of Namibia and have the right of return to the country whenever they have travelled.
He, therefore, once again urged countries to assist Namibia under the current situation to accept the bearers of the Namibian travel document wherever they may be travelling to or from.
Moreover, he revealed that the ministry will soon introduce a travel document specifically for refugees, designed according to the United Nations Convention of July 28, and in the near future two other separate travel documents, one for Namibians and the other for stateless persons will be designed in order to avoid misunderstanding and confusion.
2019-07-22 10:19:44 28 days ago