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Ugandans start losing appetite for passports

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Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Ministry of Internal Affairs has reported a significant drop in numbers of applicants for Ugandan passports.

The Internal Affairs spokesperson Simon Peter Mundeyi said the Covid-19 pandemic saw an increase in the number of Ugandans applying for passports, prompting them to upgrade their system, in anticipation of increased application numbers.

He however said, this has not happened according to their expectation as the ministry. “We anticipated big numbers to go above 3,000 passport applications per day but, to our surprise, the number has reduced to less than 1,000 applicants per day,” Mundeyi said.

According to the ministry, express passport applications are now disposed of in two days with applicants receiving their passports while ordinary passport applicants get theirs in 10 working days.

“If you apply for an express passport, you will be given an appointment in the next 30 minutes,” Mundeyi said. “I therefore call upon Ugandans to desist from using brokers to apply for passports because there is no reason to do this when the system is as efficient as it can be.”

In one of the recent scams by brokers around the passport office, one farmer from Sembabule district who was in a hurry to get a passport for an agricultural training seminar in Israel, was defrauded by brokers of 2 million shillings.

“They promised  getting him a passport in two days,” Mundeyi said referring to people who masquerade as employees. “He paid them 2 million shillings for a passport that costs only 250.000 shillings. After two days he came to the office looking for people we have never seen. Ugandans should know that we don’t know these people and we cannot stop them, anyone who wants a passport should go through the well-known channels.”

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According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, since 2018 when the country started issuing electronic passports, only 1.3 million of Ugandans have applied or received passports. Each Ugandan pays 250,000 Shillings for the ordinary passport, 400,000 Shillings for the Official Passport and 500,000 Shillings for the Diplomatic Passport.

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