CS Kithure Kindiki revokes increase of charges for identity cards, passports

Kithure Kindiki.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki.

Photo credit: Dennis Onsongo | Nation Media Group

Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki has revoked a Gazette notice that increased fees for key documents such as identity cards, passports, birth certificates and government staff badges - some by as much as 20 times - to allow for public participation following a national uproar.

In a new notice, Prof Kindiki announced revised charges, giving Kenyans until December 10, 2023, to submit their views on the proposed rates.

While Prof Kindiki reduced some of the fees in the new notice, he retained some, defending the move by pointing to escalating costs and a runaway debt that the government has to deal with.

“The intended revised charges, fees and levies are informed by the need for Kenya’s self-reliance in financing the National Budget, to wean the country from unsustainable debt that poses grave threats to our sovereignty and the dignity of future generations,” Prof Kindiki said.

He went on: “The State Department for Immigration and Citizen Services has been directed to conduct and complete public participation as soon as possible, but in any case, not later than December 10, 2023.”

The new charges are to take effect on January 1, 2024.

The High Court had suspended the implementation of the Gazette notice Prof Kindiki revoked Tuesday, citing lack of public participation, after a Nakuru-based surgeon Dr Magare Gikenyi went to court to stop their implementation.

In the new changes, new identity card applicants, who currently do not pay a cent, will part with Sh300, down from an initial proposed fee of Sh1,000 in the revoked notice.

While the previous notice had proposed a Sh2,000 charge to replace a lost identity card, the new one released Tuesday now pegs the fee at Sh1,000.

But even though it has been reduced in the new notice, the Sh1,000 to replace a lost ID card is still 10 times what the current Kenyan pays at Sh100.

The minister also added a rider that could help the poor, saying there could be an avenue to waive the charges for them, but only as far as ID is concerned.

“On the particular issue of acquisition of National Identity Cards by previously not registered citizens, the Government shall defray the costs of the revised charges, fees and levies through a waiver for indigent Kenyans who demonstrate inability to pay,” Prof Kindiki said.

The costs of replacing a mutilated or lost passport, however, were retained at Sh20,000 in the new notice, up from the current Sh10,000 and Sh12,000.

Prof Kindiki also retained the cost of processing a basic passport at a 67 per cent hike to Sh7,500 for a 34-page that currently costs Sh4,500.

The new notice also retained the proposed costs of a 50-page passport at Sh9,500, up from Sh6,000, and Sh12,500 for a 66-page ordinary passport, up from the current Sh7,500.

Diplomatic passport holders will now have to part with double the amount they currently pay, with the new notice retaining the proposed new rates at Sh15,000.

Prof Kindiki also retained the new proposed rate for late registration of birth certificates and that of death up from the current Sh150 to Sh500.

Civil servants will also still have to pay Sh1000 for their staff badges from the current Sh350 while civil servant cards that have been costing Sh100 will now cost them Sh1000, with Prof Kindiki retaining the rates for both changes as was in the revoked notice.