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The Director-General of Bureau of Public Service Reforms, Dr Joe Abah has explained why there is a scarcity of Nigerian passports.
He said the development was caused by the increase in the exchange rate of the naira to the dollar.
Abah told newsmen on Monday in Abuja that dollar, which was formerly exchanging between N150 to N160, was now N300 and above.
He added that the passport was not produced in Nigeria as only three companies in the world had the capacity and techniques to produce an international travel passport.
His words, “The reason for the scarcity is because since it’s not produced in the country, Nigeria had a contract with the foreign firm to do most of the production. “And at the time the contract was signed, 100 dollars was worth N15,000 which is the cost of the Nigerian passport of 32 pages, the 64 pages costs N20, 000.
“So with the naira being so much against the dollar, it meant that the N15, 000 paid by individuals will only amount to 30 dollars, not 100 dollars. “So the money citizens were paying simply could not buy it anymore and the government was a bit reluctant to increase the price threefold.
“Currently, the government is making efforts to look for ways to subsidise the cost until we can produce the passport in country or dollar drops.’’
He noted that the passport would soon be produced like the drivers’ licence in the country, adding that the available passport booklets were presently being used to clear the backlog of applicants.
“A few months ago the Comptroller-General of Immigration announced that we now have passport booklets available across the country and across the world.
“However, there had been a backlog of about six months or so people who apply newly are still waiting because they are still dealing with the people who applied before them.
“So our expectation is that in the next few months, it will ease up and we will go back to the standard timing which is supposed to be 72 hours from where all your documentation is checked and correct”, he added.
Source – Daily Post.