KAMPALA, UGANDA: Government through the Ministry of Internal Affairs has announced that up to 40,000 unclaimed passports are set to be destroyed by September this year if not collected by the owners.
The ultimatum according to Ministry Spokesperson, Mr. Simon Peter Mundeyi will affect passports that were applied for and produced between 2018 to 2021.
“We are in the process of destroying some of these passports dating back to 2018 when we started issuing electronic passports and they are lying there. The ministry shall first advertise all individuals whose passports are among those listed for destruction for the last chance to pick them, or else they will have to reapply for them with a new cost,” Mundeyi told DailyExpress in a phone conversation.
Mundeyi also explained that during the two months period, the ministry will advertise both in electronic and print media and on the website with a list of all the names of the 40,000 passports slated for destruction, after which there will be no further chance to claim them past the ultimatum period.
He, therefore, called upon those that applied in 2018 not to wait for messages but to go to the Kyambogo passport pick-up centre and collect them.
When asked why such a big number of passports remain unclaimed for over three years now, the Internal Affairs PRO noted that most of these belong to individuals who apply through labour export companies of which the same phone number is usually indicated for different groups of people making the text messaging communication difficult for the passport issuing body.
“The problem is when some people were applying for passports, the labour export companies put their telephone numbers for all their clients. For instance, a certain applied for passports of over 300 girls using the same contact number, and all subsequent messages and alerts were sent to this one number of which these people don’t have time to read all,” Mundeyi said.
When tasked to explain why the system allows duplicates during the application, Mundeyi noted that the technical team is looking at that fault onwards to ensure that each particular individual application does not use a contact number used before in the system. This, he says should be able to solve the communication barrier onwards.
Mundeyi further noted that now with the government call centre opened at the ministry, the public can inquire about the offered services free of charge including queries regarding this very notice.
“The new call centre will help people to check on the status of their passports hence the public should not fear to ask any questions,” he noted.
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