Local News

Zimbabwe Passports: Controversies and Criticism Surrounding the Use of US Dollars

Zimbabweans have banded together in criticizing the government’s decision to issue passports exclusively in US dollars while citing the need to fulfil some ‘contractual obligations’.

Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion Deputy Minister, David Kuda Mnangagwa said the government has a contractual obligation with the company that helped to establish the electronic passport system that passport fees shall be charged in foreign currency.

The new e-passport was introduced in December 2021, with the cost of an ordinary passport set at US$150 and an emergency one set at US$250.

A Lithuanian company, Garsu Pasaulis, partnered with the Government to introduce the e-passport.

Following the introduction of ZiG last month, Zimbabweans have been asking why the government continues charging passport fees in foreign currency while arresting people who buy forex on the streets.

You May Need: Mobile money agents back, to act as bureaux de change

Senator Meliwe Phuti raised the same issue in Parliament last week and asked why the ZiG cannot be used to pay for passports, among other services.

Responding to Phuti, Mnangagwa said the passport issue was unique as the investor has to recoup its investment. He said (via The Herald):

I believe that the social contract and the mechanics around it are being discussed. It is a sensitive area that we don’t want to rush or expediently go to without having spoken to all the stakeholders.

Similar to some of the PPP arrangements that are there, I think the Government holds the sanctity of contract sacrosanct. So, you would find that there were cases where you would spend days at the passport office.

An investor came in, and part of those arrangements included foreign currency pricing. These are stamped-in documents that need to be reviewed by the relevant ministries.

The relevant authorities and stakeholders are looking at how we can possibly have all these areas within the ZiG domain.

However, journalist Hopewell Chin’ono, a government critic, said the issue of contractual obligations as reported by The Herald is false. He said:

… the truth is that influential political figures involved in the passport deal prefer foreign currency over the local one, despite claims that the latter is backed by real gold and foreign exchange reserves.

Why wouldn’t they accept the local currency under such circumstances if it is truly backed by gold and foreign exchange reserves?

As long as the ZiG is not accepted by its issuer, the Government, it will soon become worthless.

Where do they expect Zimbabweans to obtain US Dollars when banks don’t have them, except through the black market?

Other Zimbabweans had this to say;


Are you telling me that our government cant collect ZiG payments for Passports and then pay the contractor in US ?
I understand the fuel issue will take time but this passport thing is a low hanging fruit to put confidence in our ZiG . make the necessary adjustments folks.


I would have thought government could have citizens pay for passports in ZiG and then the government uses the banking system to convert the ZiG into the contractual obligation currency instead of having people hunting for foreign currency from illegal sources.


Wait, what is difficult about the government collecting revenue in ZiG, and then getting the US$ from the banks like it expect everyone else to do? Where are the applicants expected to get the US$ from when they are being paid in ZiG?

Related Articles

Back to top button