Terminating passport contract will cost FG N22bn — Reps

The House of Representatives has warned the Federal Government against terminating a contract signed with a private firm, Iris Smart Technologies Limited, for the production of electronic passport booklets.

According to the House, procuring the equipment capable of putting the latest security features in the Nigerian e-passport will cost the government about N22 billion. The legislative chamber also warned that the production of 10 million booklets by the firm would be stalled.

These are part of the recommendations contained in the report by the House Ad-Hoc Committee to Investigate the Proposed Domestication and Processing of Nigerian International Passports, which the lawmakers considered and adopted at the plenary on Tuesday.

In the report, the committee noted that the Iris Smart Technologies Limited Renewal Agreement with the Federal Ministry of Interior of April 2015 clearly stated in Article 4:0 that the duration of the contract shall be for the delivery of an additional 10 million passport booklets.

The committee stated that “time will be of the essence if the contract expressly states it or if there are clauses to show that parties intended time to be of the essence.”

It further stated, “It will be to the legal detriment of the federal government to unilaterally terminate this agreement for any reason until it runs its course, which is the production of 10 million e-passports or the current remainder under the circumstances.

“The Federal Government can go into negotiations in line with Paragraph 4 above with ISTL to explore suitable options of how the e-passport infrastructure can be maintained until the contract is fully performed.

The committee added that the current management of the NIS initiated the domestication process, which requires 90 to 180 days to fully implement the process and other processes of the passport, which will solve the issue of scarcity.

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