The government has moved again to procure 2 million more machine-readable passports (MRPs) on an emergency basis directly from the existing supplier through the direct procurement method.
Under this process, the government agency can buy anything from any supplier without following the open tender process.
Officials at the Security Services Division (SSD) of the Ministry of Home Affairs, which initiated the move, said the failure to introduce e-passports has prompted them to go for such a costly procurement of MRPs without tender.
Sources said the SSD has already moved its proposal to the Cabinet Economic Affairs Committee for approval to procure the 2 million passport booklets and lamination foils from the existing UK-based supply firm, De La Rue Int. Ltd, to prepare the 2 million MRPs.
They said the 2 million passport booklets and the same amount of their lamination foils will cost about Tk 41 crore.
They mentioned that this will be the third time that the SSD is going to procure MRPs through the DPM process due to the failure of timely introducing the e-passports.
Initially, the De La Rue was awarded contract for 15 million passports. Then again, it was given order to supply 5 million booklets and 5.5 million lamination foils for 5 million passports under a second variation order.
In the meantime, sources said, the government set January 1, 2019 as the timeline for introducing e-passport and the Germany-based firm Veridos GmbH was awarded contract to introduce e-passports.
But the Veridos GmbH failed to introduce e-passports and the government had to procure about 2 million passports at a cost of Tk 40.71 crore.
But stocks of those passport booklets and foils are going to finish within 5-6 months as every month about 200,000 are being issued.
Officials said the German firm again missed the second deadline of July 1 to introduce e-passports which prompted them to go for continuing the exiting MRPs by directly procuring those from the existing firm under DPM process.