Bangladesh is set to become the 119th country to introduce electronic passport (e-passport) system for its citizens. A contract was signed with Germany's Veridos GmbH yesterday for implementing the project.
The contract was signed by Director General of Department of Immigration and Passports (DIP) Maj Gen Md Masud Rezwan and Veridos CEO Hans Wolfgang Kunz at Bangabandhu International Conference Center, Dhaka.
Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan was present as the chief guest while Minister of State at the German Federal Foreign Office Niels Annen as special guest at the ceremony.
According to DIP officials, the e-passport distributions are expected to begin from December, and will gradually replace machine-readable passports (MRPs).
The size of the e-passport would remain the same as its predecessor. Its validity would be 10 years, and its 64 pages would contain history of the country's 64 districts.
The major difference is, the two pages with the passport holder's details, which now appear in the beginning of an MRP, would be replaced by a polymer card embedded with a chip containing the holder's information.
The e-passport includes high-tech colour personalisation technology, which would improve visual verification.
The contract, signed under the project -- “Introduction of E-Passport and Automatic Border Control System in Bangladesh” -- is estimated to cost around Tk 4,569 crore and will be implemented by the DIP between July 2018 and June 2028.
During this tenure, Veridos would provide 3 crore e-passport booklets, establish an assembly factory in the capital's Uttara, 50 e-gates, maintenance facilities of all software, hardware and networks and special training to 100 DIP officials in Germany.
Home Minister Asaduzzaman said they are introducing the e-passport as the MRP, which was introduced in 2010, was not sufficient in combating passport fraudulence and mismanagement.
The tenure of MRP ended on June 30 but the services will continue until implementation of e-passport, he added.
At present, more than 2 crore people of the country have MRPs. They would be provided e-passports when they apply for re-issuing passports.
German State Minister Niels Annen said, “Through the technological partnership with Germany, Bangladesh will gain crucial expertise to prepare for various challenges, whether we are talking about fighting counterfeit IDs or terrorism.”
Hans Wolfgang Kunz, CEO of Veridos CEO, said although Bangladesh is set to introduce e-passport system as the 119th country, it is the fourth such country to use polycarbonate database.