State in plan to print 1 million passports, 3mn identity cards by December 2024

Julius Bitok

Immigration and Citizen Services Principal Secretary Julius Bitok on September 28. 

Photo credit: File| Nation Media Group

The government has pledged to issue at least one million passports and three million digital national identity cards by the end of 2024.

This follows the successful acquisition of two new passport printing machines which have already been delivered for installation at Nyayo House, Nairobi.

Immigration and Citizen Services Principal Secretary, Prof Julius Bitok said the new passports and digital IDs target will make it easier for Kenyans to access registration documents.

He also said the increased production of the documents will raise the revenue generated via the e-Citizen platform to an average of Sh1 billion daily over the same period and boost the government’s coffers.

“We believe there are realistic targets based on the strategic improvements and investments that we have made to our vital personal registration and documentation systems,” Prof Bitok said.

He was speaking during the annual planning meeting for senior managers for agencies and directorates in his State Department in Mombasa on Friday.  

Another crucial sector being targeted for increased revenue generation is the issuance of electronic Travel Authorisation that replaced entry visas to the country with the government anticipating at least five million visitors.

The new passports target is nearly double the 533,000 issued in 2023 with the higher output pegged on the combined printing capacity of 600 passports per hour by the new machines. Their installation is expected to reduce the waiting time for issuing passports to less than 14 working days.

“We will be commissioning the new printers next week. We are determined to render delays in the issuance of passports a thing of the past as we have secured the necessary resources to produce sufficient booklets and other recurrent expenses,” Ps Bitok said.

The congestion at Nyayo House is also expected to reduce with the government opening new offices in Nyeri, Bungoma and Garissa.

The State will also invest in government-owned passport and border management systems to provide real-time data on the entry and exit of all travellers.

It will also be good news for citizens applying for their IDs in Northern Kenya who beginning next month, will bid goodbye to the rigourous vetting exercise they have always been subjected to when seeking IDs.

By the end of 2024, the State hopes to issue 1.2 million digital national ID cards to first-time applicants and 1.6 million duplicate IDs to build on the 733,000 Maisha cards it has issued so far.

The State also seeks to digitize 46 million records on births and deaths in the country held by the Civil Registration Services and two million records under the custody of the National Registration Bureau.

It is also projected that the number of services offered on the e-Citizen platform will grow to 20,000 from the current 16,000 thus pushing the average daily users to over one million.

“We are continuously innovating and improving the user experience on e-Citizen. We want as many clients as possible to enjoy the convenience it provides so that we can hit our targets of generating revenue for the government,” he said.

PS Bitok also said that the government will expedite the implementation of the Shirika Plan which provides for the integrated settlement of almost 700,000 refugees currently in Kakuma and Daadab camps located in Turkana and Garissa counties respectively.

The documentation and registration of around 200,000 illegal immigrants in the country will also be fast-tracked.

With all these plans dealing with sensitive data, the Immigration PS said the State Department had undertaken extensive data protection impact assessment for its operations in compliance with the Data Protection Act.