Why MPs want Kenyans to pay more for passports, IDs

Nyayo House

Members of the public queue at the Department of Immigration Services Passport control office at Nyayo House in Nairobi. Inset: Kenyan ID cards, a passport, and birth certificates. 

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

A National Assembly committee is pushing for an additional Sh2.7 billion in fees from various documents issued by the Immigration Department to procure booklets for the printing of passports.

In a report on the 2024 Budget Policy Statement, the Budget and Appropriation Committee (BAC) wants the National Treasury increase the target for fees the department collects from the various documents it issues to Sh3.98 billion from the current Sh1.3 billion.

This will help the Immigration Department Services to procure booklets for printing of passports, birth and death certificates as well as National Identification cards. This, the legislators hope, will help reduce the backlog of unprocessed documents.

Kenyans have for years endured delays in processing new passports, with State officials blaming this on a cash crunch that has made it difficult for the Immigration Department to purchase booklets from a Pakistani company.

“Before finalisation of the Annual Estimates for Financial Year 2024/25, the Cabinet Secretary for the National Treasury to enhance the Appropriation in Aid for the Department from the current Sh1.3 billion to 20 per cent of all the revenues it generates to the Exchequer through the issuance of documents,” said the BAC.

The committee chaired by the MP for Kiharu Constituency Ndindi Nyoro estimated that the 20 per cent hike would earn the department Sh3.98 billion in revenue in the Financial Year 2024-25.

Already, the Immigration Department has started charging higher fees for processing of birth certificates, National IDs, and passports as part of the wider objective of the government to wean off State corporations from the Exchequer. Consequently, the fees for some of these services have doubled or risen 10 times or more.

MPs want these funds used to boost the cash flow of the department. Official data shows that over 800,000 Kenyans have applied for passports and remitted to the government through the e-citizen platform.

This earned the State passport fees amounting to over Sh5 billion as of February 23, 2024.

 “But the State department could not process the passport due to lack of booklets. The committee noted that failure to transfer resources to the department promptly has affected service delivery and inconvenienced many Kenyans,” said BAC.