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Minister of Interior explores local passport production - BUSINESSDAY

FEBRUARY 29, 2024

Nigeria’s Ministry of Interior has entered into talks with IDEMIA, a multinational technology company to explore the possibility of producing passport booklets within Nigeria. Led by Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, the interior minister, the discussion opened Thursday.

“The Minister of Interior, @BTOofficial-Ojo on Thursday engaged in discussions with @IdemiaGroup to explore opportunities for localizing passport booklet production in Nigeria,” the ministry announced on its X handle. No further explanation was offered after the X post. Reacting to the announcement, X commentator, @Solomon_dynasty described the move as good for industrialisation, however, he feels other agencies of the country could also be explored.”This part of industrialisation, we need to do more in terms of homemade things and I would have thought Nigeria mint and print would handle the passport booklet production,” the X user noted. Other commentators described the move as good for the ailing naira as buying locally is always good for the domestic market.

IDEMIA, a multinational technology company headquartered in Courbevoie, France, specializes in providing identity-related security services. The company offers a range of products and software, including facial recognition and other biometric identification solutions, catering to private enterprises and government entities.

Last year, it was reported that Idris Jere, former comptroller-general of the Nigerian immigration service, lamented that the country lacks a domestic production facility; highlighting that travel documents are manufactured overseas.

“We generate forex from the sale of passports but we do not have access to buy the same booklets, and that is a challenge for NIS,” Jere had said.

“The factors responsible for the scarcity of passports include the inability to set up passport-producing factories in Nigeria, as its production is done abroad. The major seven components used for producing passports are sold in the international market and the assemblage and production are done in Malaysia.

“This makes the production process solely dependent on forex and the scarcity of forex due to the fall in Naira value is of major concern.”

The discussions between the Minister of Interior and IDEMIA signify a potential collaboration aimed at enhancing Nigeria’s passport production capabilities.

Localizing passport booklet production could bolster efficiency and security measures within the country’s passport issuance process. It will help alleviate passport booklet shortages to some extent.

Previously, shortages of booklets resulted in reports of corruption during the passport issuance process in Nigeria, with agents taking advantage of desperate applicants. However, by localizing passport booklet production in Nigeria, such abuses will be minimized.

As discussions progress, citizens await further developments and potential outcomes of the collaboration between Nigeria’s government and IDEMIA in the realm of passport production.


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