Thai Foreign Ministry reassures over ePassport contract issue

02/03/17

Thailand’s Foreign Ministry has said that ePassport issuance will not be impacted by the end of a contract with a conglomerate.

“We affirm that the issuance of E-passport will proceede as usual,” said a statement issued by the ministry, reported The Nation.

The newspaper reported ministry is facing a problem with the passport books issuance as its current contract with an outsource company will end soon.

The Nation adds that two years ago, the ministry signed a contract with the outsourcing companies to issue passports, stipulating that the company would produce 7 million passports, after which the contract would end. The companies in the consortium are Chan Wanich Co Ltd, Chan Wanich Security Printing Co Ltd and NEC Asia.

At present, 6.97 million have been issued, leaving only 30,000 more to be issued. On a typical day, 10,000 requests are received for the issuance or re-issuance of passports, which would have left only three more days.

The ministry had said the process to find new companies through an e-bidding process could take a year to complete. However, to solve the immediate problem, the ministry on Tuesday proposed that the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) invoke Article 44 of the interim charter to allow the ministry to extend the contract with the current companies for one year.

However, the NCPO rejected the proposal, saying Article 44 could be criticised for being used too often, Sansern said. The NCPO then ordered Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Kreangam to meet with the OAG and the Foreign Ministry to seek a solution, Sansern said. "The OAG should understand that a solution can't be found if one bluntly sticks to rules," Sansern said.

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