Opposition calls passport fee hike unconscionable, demands cutback
The Opposition is calling for a partial rollback of the increases in the fees for passport services announced by the Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA).
Yesterday, PICA announced that come next week Tuesday, most of its application fees will go up by more than 40 percent.
But the Opposition Spokesperson on National Security, Derrick Smith, says such an increase is unconscionable and exorbitant given the harsh economic conditions.
According to him, PICA should slash the planned increases by at least 50 percent and raise the fees to the desired level overtime.
The passport agency says the increased fees will provide it with the necessary funding to employ more staff, carry out technological improvements and address space requirements for customers and staff.
Smith says while he understands PICA’s concerns, the economic situation for Jamaicans, especially public sector workers, cannot be ignored.
Public sector workers have not had any increase in their incomes for the past five years because of a wage freeze.