Gov’t borrows passport booklets to clear backlog

The Director General of the Directorate of Civil Registry, Nationality, Passport and Immigration, Lt-Gen Atem Marol Biar (photo by Philip Wani)

By William Madouk Garang

The South Sudan Directorate of Nationality Passport and Immigration Department on Tuesday received 9,500 pieces of regular passport booklets from Germany firm, Mauhlbauer. The booklets have been borrowed on credit to clear backlog of passports to clients who have been eager to get their passports.

Germany Company, Mauhlbauer accepted to deliver the package contrary to the agreement, which says the government is supposed to pay first before delivery of the booklets.

Director-General of Directorate of Civil Registry, Nationality, Passport and Immigration (DCRNPI), Lt. Gen. Atem Marol Biar announced that the first batch was received.

“I want to confirm this (Tuesday) morning we have received 7,000 pieces of regular passport [booklets], they are now with us in our store,” General Biar told reporters during a press conference yesterday.

“Tomorrow (today), we will receive 2,500 pieces and number will be total of 9,500 pieces of regular passports. This is a big number and more than that is coming we will inform you by the time we receive them,” he added.

The director general added that each piece of the booklet costs 19.5 dollars from the company and it’s sold out at affordable price which is 6 dollars only.

Gen. Biar assured people that there will be no more delays on printing passports again, asserting that government is committed to clearing the company’s balance so that more booklets arrive. 

“What used to happen is that, we used to pay money first then after that the company delivers. So, I want to appreciate members of the company for accepting our request and sending us consignment before we pay,” he lauded.

“Concerning company arrears, I want to promise them [the company] that the Minister of Finance is very committed to clear their balance as soon as possible,” he affirmed.

The Immigration department said there are 23,000 passport documents waiting in the system but will not be printed anyhow except through request because people don’t come to collect their IDs.

“For 23,000 we will not print them all, we’ll print them according to the request because we have a problem when we print what we have in the system people don’t come and receive them” he said.

The Immigration boss reiterated that 60,000 passports and NC that were printed since last year are now being displayed outside in the compound and urged people to come collect them.

Last week, the Immigration department received 120,000 pieces of Nationality Certificate cards (NC) on-loan as well.

According to directives given seven thousands awaiting documents in the system were to be printed so that they can start afresh.

However, few people who processed passports claimed that they were duped and spent a long time without receiving their papers; others protested that processing papers are granted only if you are sick or a student.

In response, James Mapuor Acuoth, the Director of Information and Public Relations at DCRNPI, said complaints should be directed to the Director-General so that they can be solved promptly.

He asked those who claimed they were conned and didn’t receive their passport to go to the Directorate for their issues to be resolved.

The Director-General Atem Marol Biar, in January vowed to cleanse the directorate of mischievous practices.

South Sudan halted issuance of Nationality Certificate Identification card and passport in 2020, after its German Technology provider shutdown the system over failure to pay accumulative bill of USD 6.9 million.

Government resumed issuance of regular passports and nationality IDs on November 2021, after the Ministry of Finance paid USD 3.4 million to the Germany firm, Mauhlbauer.

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