Int’l Passports Shortage: FG’s Breach Of Contract Responsible — Iris Smart Tech


A firm contracted by the Federal Government for the production of the country’s international passports, Iris Smart Technologies Limited, has attributed the scarcity of passport booklets in Nigeria to the Federal Government’s breach of the production contract it had with it since 2007.

The firm also decried the unavailability of foreign exchange to carry out its operations effectively by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

It also accused the Nigeria Security Minting and Printing PLC of sabotaging its efforts because the government agency failed to secure the contract for the production of the passports in 2007.


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Managing Director of the Company, Yinka Fisher, said this when he appeared before the House of Representatives Adhoc Committee to investigate the proposed domestication and processing of Nigerian international passports.

He said that prior to their engagement by the Federal Government, the country had a shabby passport administration.

“Today we have a system where we have a central processing centre with a strong inventory control mechanism. Last year we delivered a record number of booklets to the Nigeria Immigration Service which was about 1.9 million booklets. This year for the first four months we have delivered nearly 800, 000 booklets. We are on course for another record supply this year.

“The Nigeria Immigration Service gave Nigeria Security Minting and Printing PLC the opportunity to print the first set of booklets. When they were delivered it was substandard. The government discarded them and decided to have an international tender for the production and embedding of chips.

“Five companies were invited. Three foreign companies, Nigeria Security Minting and Printing PLC and ourselves. The Nigeria Security Minting and Printing PLC were found to be technically incompetent and expensive. The IRIS bid was found to be technically competent and price competitive. The award was given to IRIS to produce the passports.

“The project from the beginning was contractor financed.

“Government did not and has not put any money in it since the beginning. The funding had been handled by us. We took an N3 billion facility from the bank to start the project. Till now the government has still not put a kobo. We get paid for the goods and services and we deliver. We don’t do revenue sharing. If we deliver 100 booklets they pay us for 100 booklets. To date, the government has a revenue of over 100 billion and over 200 million dollars. There are two revenue streams. Local revenue is about 100 billion and overseas sales amount to 200 million dollars.

Also briefing journalists on the matter, the Spokesperson for the company, Dr Sule Yau said the current bid opening which was won by another company for the domestication of production was responsible for the current scarcity of booklets being experienced.

Dr. Ya’u said the company in 2007 was given the contractual mandate to deliver a total of 20 million passport booklets, out of which it has produced and delivered a little above 6 million copies.

He said the refusal of the CBN to make foreign exchange available to it and the non-remittance of sales proceeds by the NIS hampered effective delivery.

The Spokesperson therefore called on the government to find a middle ground where it can have an arrangement with new company which won the domestication bid to meet its contractual target and obligation.

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