Passport slowdown in Ethiopia means more corruption!

30 Dec

Posted by The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)

The long wait for renewing passports has opened room for brokers, dealers and government employees to take bribes in order to speed up the process of getting a passport.

People are being asked to pay up to 50,000 birr as a bribe for a new passport. Normally a passport costs 600 birr.

Ethiopian Passport (Credit: Capital)

According to Capital sources, the case is more serious for individuals who want to renew their passport for business. They will be asked for up to 100,000 birr by the dealers who have contact with the agency employees and will get their passport renewed within five days.

Wendowessen (his name is changed for privacy) is a business man who has license in the import and export business and frequently travels to China and Dubai, Waiting for more than five months puts him out of the game, so he chooses to go beyond the curtain to get his passport renewed.

“The agency has no alternate procedures for business people who are engaged in import and export which encourages people to break the law,” said a Capital source.

Under normal circumstance, it takes two months to get a new passport through normal procedures, which costs 600 Birr for 32 pages and 900 Birr for a 64-page passport. However, applicants can get their passport expedited to between three and five days after paying 2,186 birr.

For individuals who need to go abroad for medical purposes, they should get a document from the medical board to get the service.

Though there is less magnitude, the long waits are also observed in Adama, Semera, Dire Dawa, Jigjiga, Hawassa, Jimma, Dessie, Bahir Dar and Mekelle,

“The agency is trying to alleviate the existing problems still we are importing passports and the shortage of hard currency complicates the problem,” said Desalegn Teressa, Communication Director.

On average, the Agency spends USD five million to print passports every year. The Agency, was issuing an average of 2,000 passports daily. Previously, any individual with a kebele identification card and birth certificate can obtain a passport from the agency, as long as they present documents from the government institution as a letter of recommendation, Individuals with medical case, for individuals who have active visa, and for individuals who engage in import-export trade. It will not take more than a week.



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