In a rapid response to a recent system failure affecting passport application and collection services, the government has announced an ambitious plan to issue 49,500 passports within a mere 14 days, starting May 10, 2024. This initiative, led by Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki, aims to alleviate a backlog of 724,000 passports, providing much-needed relief to numerous applicants awaiting their travel documents.

Kindiki expressed the urgency of this effort, stating, “We want the passports delivered and collected in 14 days.” The distribution of the 49,500 passports will prioritize various regions across the country. Notably, Nairobi County is set to receive 27,000 passports, followed by allocations to Embu, Nakuru, Mombasa, Eldoret, Kisumu, Kisii, and Kericho.

This announcement comes in the wake of a temporary halt in passport services due to a system failure earlier on Tuesday. The State Department assured the public that efforts were underway to swiftly rectify the issue, acknowledging the disruption in their statement.

In addition to addressing the immediate backlog, the government has set ambitious targets for passport and digital identity card issuance. With the recent acquisition of two new passport printing machines, the government aims to issue at least one million passports and three million digital national identity cards by the end of 2024.

Kindiki assured the public that measures were in place to address past challenges, including underfunding, shortages of passport booklets, equipment breakdowns, corruption, and poor public relations. He emphasized the government’s commitment to sustained reforms and improvements.

The deployment of new high-capacity printers is expected to significantly reduce waiting times for passport issuance to less than 14 working days, marking a significant improvement in service delivery.