Clifton Movirongo

The Ministry of Home Affairs has received government approval to increase passport application fees by 100 percent.

The cabinet approval will see fees increase from the current N$200 to N$400.

Ministry of Home Affairs Executive Director Etienne Maritz told the Windhoek Observer the planned price hike comes as the validity period for the passports has increased from five to ten years, with more pages included in the booklet.

“Inflation and the cost for the passports are the major reasons for the increase. So, we are still in the process as our legal people are busy drafting the proclamation but as soon as that is done, it will be gazetted. I’m sure we will be able to do that before the end of this month, latest end of November,” said Maritz adding that the old fees still remain valid until the new fees are gazetted with all the adjustments for the public to take note of.

Additionally, fees for all documents issued by the ministry of Home Affairs will also be increased, excluding documents that are issued for free such as the national identification card for first-timers.

Quizzed on how increasing of fees will improve accessibility of documents, Maritz said the Ministry is “doing very well” in terms of their turnaround time even though it has no backlog.

“The reason for the increase is not necessarily accessibility, part of it is to streamline the processes. As part of the reengineering process, we have included the handling fee in the new fee so that a person does not have to pay twice,” he said.

“Another reason for adjustment of fees is to enable a person to pay only once at the end of the process when the Ministry of Home Affairs goes online. We have realised that the queues are always long for people to pay at the cashier, so we will halve it by using this method.”

The Executive Director also complained that people do not value their documents and that is one of the factors the ministry considered for increasing the fees.

“You would find a person that will come and apply for a duplicate birth certificate, and they are not even looking for the first one, then four days later they come for a third one and another one after that,” he said.

“Therefore, due to that motive, an incremental fee has been introduced so that if a person replaces a document for the first time is the ordinary fee, but it becomes more expensive for the second time and time after that. This will be done because people lack appreciation when it comes to the value of the document given to them.”

Speaking to the Windhoek Observer, Home Affairs minister Frans Kapofi said that an exemption will be made based on merits for those who cannot afford some documents due to the increasing fees.

“I urge people to value their document, but should it happen that there is a citizen who is unable to afford a copy of an ID, then the system should be able to look at it and see. We will always find a way because now and then there are times that we exempt, but for now we think that our people should be able to support the system as it is a very serious cost on the government,” said Kapofi.