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Kenya raises issuance targets for digital IDs and passports

Kenya raises issuance targets for digital IDs and passports

Everything being equal, Kenya plans to issue at least three million digital national IDs and one million biometric passports before this year runs out.

This ambition was revealed last week by Julius Bitok, principal secretary for Immigration and Citizen Services, The Star reports.

Speaking on the issue during a planning meeting in the city of Mombasa, Bitok said measures are also being taken by the government to ensure easy access to these important identity credentials.

Increased issuance of these documents will mean improvement in the revenue collected from the provision of services through the eCitizen digital government, according to Bitok.

In the same vein, he mentioned that the target concerning civil status registration documents is to see the digitization of at least 46 million birth and death records.

On passports, the Principal Secretary said the production process will be expedited because two new printing machines have been made available and their installation is awaited. He also mentioned that the waiting time will be drastically reduced to less than 14 days.

“The new passports target is nearly double the 533,000 issued in the previous year with the higher output pegged on the combined printing capacity of 600 passports per hour by the new machines,” the official said, as quotes by The Star. As part of the plan, the government also hopes to open new passport offices in the towns of Bungoma, Garissa and Nyeri to serve more people.

The passport printers will be put to use this week, said Bitok, adding that other steps have also been taken to produce enough booklets, while other operational expenses have also been taken care of.

In recent times, Kenya has suffered a huge backlog of national ID and biometric passport production, with the issue blamed on a court order that blocked the issuance of the new Maisha Namba digital ID.

The government now wants to double down on its efforts of issuing these important documents which Kenyans need in order to carry out the day-to-day transactions of their lives. About 733,000 Maisha IDs are said to have been already issued.

Regarding digital government, Bitok also announced the government’s intention of increasing the number of services to 20,000 from the current 16,000.

A process to accelerate the registration of around 200,000 refugees is also part of the government’s actions for execution.

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