National, News

Gov’t receives over 20,000 passport booklets

By Bida Elly David

Directorate for Civil Registry, Nationality, Passport, and Immigration (DCRPI) has received 20,000 passport booklets from a German firm after clearing outstanding financial debts for the IT Company.

Deputy Director of Finance at the Directorate, Phillip Kuch said the booklets received were part of 212,000 passports formerly ordered for production.

He said the department had recently received 10,000 booklets before the new consignment.

“When you sum up the two shipments, it will give a cumulative sum of 30,000, respectively, with a balance of 182,000 that are yet to be imported into the Country,” he said.

According to the deputy director, the current passport booklets will take two years to run out of stock, noting that there are enough to be used.

He said that the booklets would have reached South Sudan earlier than now, but financial constraints from the government’s side impeded the process.

“We have now received more passport booklets that were left behind. The reason we did not have these booklets was because we had arrears of $1.7 million to be paid for passport printing,” he said.

Kuch, who said the Ministry of Finance has cleared the money, underlined that the government faced a series of drawbacks during the logistical and procurement processes of the passport booklets.

“It wasn’t easy to persuade the printing company in Germany to release the passport booklets” he added.

The deputy director of finance appreciated the Ministry of Finance and economic planning for releasing the money to settle the outstanding debts for the release of the passport booklets.

Kuch apologized on behalf of the immigration department, for delays in the processing of passports, particularly for students and people with health issues.

Meanwhile, the Director of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in the immigration department, David Oromo, said the database has had cumulative passport backlogs for the last seven years.

“We have been having about 70,000 unissued passports due to a lack of booklets, but as you can see today, we have a backlog of passports in the system,” Oromo said.

He called on citizens who failed to pick up their passports to immediately get them, saying that their store is getting full.

“Once we store these passports for six months and you don’t report, we shall take them into our stores,” he said.

Omoro, however, warned the public against collaborating with non-officers in the immigration office, saying that most of them are crooks and sycophants.

Oromo said the immigration department doesn’t have enough to store all the passports, adding that the temperature of the house is another factor.

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