Thailand – Don says e-passport stock won’t run out

By | March 3, 2017

Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai on Friday reaffirmed that the e-passport issuance service will continue as usual despite earlier reports the ministry was set to run out of passports.

Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai on Friday reaffirmed that the e-passport issuance service will continue as usual despite earlier reports the ministry was set to run out of passports.

“We have enough supply of the books and we don’t expect it to be finished any day,” Don said.

Don echoed a similar statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) on Wednesday, a day after Government Spokesman Lt-General Sansern Kaewkamnerd said the MFA had requested that the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) issue an Article 44 order to prolong soon-to-end issuances.

According to Sansern, an outsourced consortium issuing passports for the MFA holds seven million books. As of Tuesday, 6.97 million books were already made, meaning that it could issue only another 30,000 books, a number that would meet demand for only three days.

The MFA then asked for the NCPO order to allow it to prolong the contract with the consortium, given that a protocol-based bidding process for the service could take as much as a year.

The NCPO refused the request but said that it would assign its legal adviser, Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam, to talk with the Office of the Auditor General to be “flexible” with regulations concerning the process as the MFA might skip the bidding process.

The MFA set a medium price for the next lot of e-passports in January. The price announcement can be found on the MFA’s website.

The MFA has not explained why the issuance will continue despite the aforementioned issues and why this routine process hit a speed bump.

Source: The Nation

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