The Directorate of Immigration Control (DCIC) under Ministry of Foreign Affairs is not printing passports due to shortage of booklets.
According to sources, the crisis is a result of overwhelming demand of the new passports after government banned use of old booklets that expired on April 4th this year, TrumpetNews reveals.
Three years ago, the immigrations department had announced it would ban the use of old passports.
Ever since, the machine-readable passports were declared valid for international travel and were replaced by international East African e-passports, there has been delay in acquiring new ones.
The crisis has generated frustration among those intending to travel abroad for business, medical checkups, visits and emergencies.
Whereas many Ugandans have been affected by the shortage, labour companies are mostly counting huge losses.
Sources say, the crisis erupted due to lack of enough preparedness after declaring the machine readable passports invalid.
“This is what happens to most of our government bodies. They effect policies well knowing they are unprepared,” said a source.
The Permanent Secretary of Immigrations Brig Johnson Namanya couldn’t respond to messages when reached for explanation.
Whereas some other top officials at Jinja road based office denied there was shortage of booklets in the passport office, they admitted that they have a huge challenge in delivering the passports from the day of applying.
“Somehow we are overwhelmed by the demand but we are trying to manage that,” one of the top officials said.
Others attributed the crisis to incompetence. In the past, acquiring an express passport would take two days, now it’s three weeks to one month.
This means it is very hard for an individual to respond to an emergency abroad when he or she doesn’t have new East African E-passport.
Simon Mundeyi, the new internal affairs spokesperson denied there was shortage of booklets. “We are printing passports normally sir,” he said.
He said this speculation is being fueled by the brokers who are out to fleece the public of their money. However Mundeyi acknowledged there is a delay in delivering express passports.
“About express, it is true we got a challenge having received so very applicants for the same service. 138 labor companies applied for express passports and this overwhelmed our capacity but we have since increased our work stations and this is being handled well,” he said.