Govt: Passport delays caused by printer breakdown, Sh150m needed for new machine

Kenyan East African Community Passport. [File, Standard]

Delays in printing of passports in Kenya have been caused by the breakdown of a key printer, the government has said.

The Immigration Department's Head of Corporate Affairs Ambassador Isaac Ochieng said some Sh150 million would be needed for a new machine.

Ochieng made the revelations on Tuesday, November 29, when Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki made a surprise visit to the Immigration Department at Nyayo House in Nairobi.

Kindiki had gone to "inspect services at the headquarters that issues passports and other essential documents", the minister's communications team said in a Tuesday statement.

"This (Kindiki's impromptu visit) follows complaints from members of the public about long delays in the processing of passports, visas, work permits and other vital documents, leading to protests from frustrated would-be travellers, potential expatriates and other inconvenienced clients," said a statement from the Ministry of Interior.

Kindiki said when he sought answers for the delays in passport processing, the Immigration Department's Head of Corporate Affairs Isaac Ochieng said there's a printer breakdown that has occasioned the hitch.

"Ambassador Ochieng attributed the delays in the printing of passports to a breakdown of one of the printers. He said the department requires Sh150 million to acquire a new machine," said the Interior ministry.

"The CS said the government is keen to streamline the issuance of passport and other immigration department services, and will secure the requisite resources and reforms," said the Interior ministry on Tuesday.

The delays come on the back of pressure and a looming deadline to acquire e-passports.

In January 2018, the East African Community (EAC) directed its member states to upgrade to the e-passport.

The member countries set November 30, 2022 as the deadline for acquisition of e-passports after extending the deadline from the initial date - December 31, 2022.