Augentic wins biometric passport contract for Cameroon, Fiji issuance appears successful
Cameroon has selected partners Augentic and Portuguese State Printer Imprensa Nacional-Casa da Moeda (INCM) to supply biometric passports and support issuance processes to upgrade the country’s travel identity credentials.
The ten-year contract was signed with Cameroon’s General Delegation for National Security (GDNS),
“We are honored to have been selected as partner of GDNS after a long tendering process with multiple phases,” responds Augentic CEO Labinot Carreti. “The partnership with INCM allowed us to mobilize one of the biggest investments in the history of Cameroon in the domain of Identity Documents. The strategy of our Company is to support governments in their path of digitalization of identity infrastructure. We are happy to help the great country of Cameroon become a leader in Africa and among top ranked countries in the world in terms of passport security and system performance.”
The project includes a “build” phase in which a secure passport personalization and citizen enrollment center will be built in Yaoundé, and enrollment center will be built in Douala, 8 other offices will be renovated or constructed, a cashless system for passport fee payment will be established, databases set up and operators trained. During the next “operation” phase, the consortium will create technology jobs in the country and a logistic system for issuing biometric passports within 48 hours established.
Prior to the transfer of the full system’s operation to GDNS ten years hence, Augentic will update the entire solution.
iAfrikan reports that Cameroon’s passport production system has been plagued by problems, including procedural bottlenecks. The official fee for passport delivery is XAF 75,000 (roughly US$135) for delivery within 30 days, but according to the report, many people spend more and wait longer.
Carreti said during the signing ceremony that Augentic’s equipment is ready, and the company will set up production centers in all 10 of the country’s administrative regions.
Nepal considers reissuing biometric passport tender
None of the four companies bidding on Nepal’s biometric passport contract has submitted the required documents, and the tender should be relaunched on a short deadline, the country’s Department of Passports has recommended to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The Kathmandu Post reports that none of the bids meet the requirements of the process.
Officials in the country are also expressing concern that the available stock of passports will only supply the next few months worth of issuances, so the bid process must be fast-tracked. The country will otherwise face a shortage stock of 360,000 passports runs out the department says. An official estimated the current stock will last about six months, and that for the past six months only security personnel going abroad for peacekeeping missions and individuals showing great need had been issued passports.
Normally, according to the Post, the department issues more than half a million passports annually.
Idemia, Mühlbauer, HID Global and Aisino Coporation submitted bids to provide 2 million passports, but a member of the bid evaluation team told the Post that they had all submitted hard copies, rather than digital tender documents as required, and the team had declined to consider the paper filings.
The department is now preparing a fresh tender with a three-week submission deadline.
Multiple members of the bid team suggested that the department could have sought additional documents from the companies to fix what they characterized as a minor error, but the Prime Minister’s Office said the process could not advance as no price listing is available. Two members of the evaluation team also told the Post that the prices of some essential products had been left out by some bidders.
The government intends to produce the documents at a dedicated security printing facility it will set up domestically.
Fiji issues 35K biometric passports
The Fiji Immigration Department has issued more than 35,000 biometric passports since the launch of the new travel ID document last year, Xinhua reports.
Typically, Fiji issues 25,000 passports per year, according to the report.
Fiji’s issuance of passports with biometric data embedded in machine-readable chips brings the number of countries issuing biometric passports to 54, according to Xinhua.