By Libya Herald reporter.
Tunis, 24 May 2015:
Online application for new biometric Libyan . . .[restrict]passports will commence from June, the National ID Number (NIDN) Authority has revealed.
The announcement is part of a wider and long term move by the Libyan authorities to introduce e-government in Libya for better services to citizens, to reduce bureaucracy and to combat corruption.
It is also part of a move to solve the chronic bottlenecks in the issuing of new passports – bottlenecks that are invoking the rage of the general Libyan public.
On Friday the NIDN Authority announced that it had held a meeting with the Passports Authority and had put the finishing touches to the new electronic passport application system.
The NIDN Authority said that, besides the completion of the online passport application system it has also ordered the print of a new batch of passports, which is awaiting the release of a budget.
It is also planning to open new passports offices across the country; the doubling of the number of current printers in use across passports offices, as well as the increase of the number of photography stations – all subject to receiving the necessary budget.
The opening of specific passport offices at organizations with a large number of employees such as banks and the Man-Made River Project, is already under implementation, it confirmed.
The Authority also said that it plans to introduce evening opening hours at passport offices subject to completion of the above mentioned improvements.
The NIDN Authority revealed that initially the online passport application service would only be available within the Tripoli-based passports offices.
It was also very keen to point out that the new electronic system was designed and implemented in-house and without the need (and cost) for outside contractors.
Workshops and public information broadcasts to better inform the general public about using the new online passport application system will also be held.
On another level, the NIDN Authority also revealed that Libyans overseas would also be able to obtain new passports from embassies abroad.
It revealed that the necessary equipment for processing has been sent to 50 Libyan embassies. Successful tests were carried out on three embassies, the Authority confirmed.
However, the system at Libyan embassies will be an offline process, with applications being sent through the diplomatic bag, it explained.
It will be recalled that the issue of the issuing of the new biometric passports has caused much uproar in Libya as queues at passport issuing offices have formed partly due to lack of capacity in human resource as well as raw material and equipment.
But also due to allegeblockages caused by corruption as new passports are made available at prices of up to LD 1,500 – as opposed to the official LD 55 cost.
The right and access to a new electronic passport in Libya is beyond just the principle of the right to having a passport, but is more of a practical necessity.
Beyond holidays and business trips, a valid passport is a necessity for healthcare abroad in countries like Tunisia and Jordan for most ordinary Libyans and Europe for the better off.
Equally, many countries are now imposing conditions on letting in Libyans with the old non-electronic handwritten green passports that are very old and beyond certain dates due to security fears. [/restrict]