Kenya requires 3.Million passports quarterly on labour travels only

The government has enlisted the assistance of the National Security Intelligence Service (NIS) to address a pressing issue regarding passport printing materials sourced from overseas. This move comes as the State grapples with a backlog of 724,000 passport applications and new requests.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki informed Parliament about the challenges faced in obtaining passport printing materials due to global supply chain disruptions. In response, he delegated the task to NIS to aid the State Department for Immigration and Registration of Citizens in procuring these essential travel materials.

Kindiki highlighted the significant demand for passport booklets, with the Immigration Department requiring three million every 90 days, while suppliers can only provide 1.5 million. He acknowledged NIS’s support in procurement, leading to substantial progress and streamlining of the process, minimizing tender conflicts and expedited acquisitions.

The surge in passport applications is attributed to government policies on labor exportation, necessitating the need for a larger supply of passport booklets. Kindiki emphasized the importance of meeting this demand, aiming to provide passports to all Kenyans within the next two years, with plans to extend accessibility to schools for individuals aged 18 and above.

However, challenges persist as suppliers cite a global shortage of passport printing materials, prompting the intervention of NIS. Although the specific quantity of booklets secured through NIS intervention was not disclosed, this collaboration reflects previous instances where the government relied on the intelligence agency to address critical equipment shortages.

In addition to passport materials, the government previously engaged NIS to procure ventilators during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, inquiries regarding the procurement process for these ventilators remain inconclusive.

Acknowledging past shortcomings, Kindiki apologized for the delay in passport issuance and outlined measures taken to alleviate budgetary constraints. The Treasury’s approval to allocate Sh3 billion annually from internally generated funds to Immigration for operations and procurement signifies progress towards addressing financial challenges.

Kindiki also expressed optimism about increasing revenue collection for Immigration, suggesting potential improvements in service delivery and a crackdown on corruption within the department.

In conclusion, the collaboration between the government and NIS underscores efforts to overcome logistical hurdles and meet the growing demand for passports, ultimately aiming to enhance citizen access to this essential travel document.