Senate reiterates commitment to e-passport production in Nigeria
Abuja, The Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions has reiterated its commitment towards ensuring that international passports are locally produced in Nigeria.
The Chairman of the committee, Sen. Rafiu Ibrahim made this known when officials of Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Company(NSPMC) appeared before the committee for 2019 Budget presentation.
Rafiu said the gains from producing the passports locally could not be overemphasised, noting that the country would save millions of naira in forex among other benefits.
He asked the company to feel free to engage the senate where necessary for assistance.
“We believe you will achieve more with your team. We are ready to render any assistance that is legitimate.
“If you want us to follow you to Immigration office or if there is any presentation you want us to make, just let us know.
“Once you have capacity and you are able to display regarding passport production as you did in the case of electoral materials for the 2019 elections, we will support you,” he said.
He, however, expressed concern with the amount allocated to Corporate Social Responsibility(CSR) in the company’s 2019 budget, saying it is meagre.
Rafiu asked the company to review it upward from N50 million.
“We are here to help as always, because we always tell you the citizens are our first line or the only interest we have whenever we engage agencies,” he said.
The Managing Director and Chief Executive of NSPMC, Mr Abbas Masanawa, said the company’s priority is to begin full production of international passports in Nigeria.
”The next level is for passport printing to be domesticated in the country.
“We must be able to take pride in what we do. If we print our passports in Nigeria, there will be revenue generation and job creation.
“We will also conserve forex. When that happens, hundreds of millions of dollars will be saved for the country,” he said.
Masanawa appreciated efforts made by the National Assembly, particularly the senate, in assisting the company in some of its achievements.
He called for further support to ensure that the company commence the passport production.
“Production of passport is capital intensive,” he said, stressing that unless the company gets government’s commitment, investing billions of naira in the business will risky.
”The issue of passport production is in the front burner for us now and whatever the senate can come up with to help is welcome.
“It will help the economy. So we must all put our heads together to ensure the company prints our international passports.
“We want to assure that we will not fail the nation,” he said.
On achievements of the company, Masanawa said, “our performance has been dwindling but with the new management, our performance has improved.”
“Today, we have zero importation of currency and this has helped with revenue generation.
“We do not only print currency, we print security documents as well. We participated actively in printing the ballot papers for the 2019 general elections and we hope in future we will print the ballot papers 100 per cent.”
He further disclosed that efforts were also being made to increase the company’s scope by printing currency for other African countries.
According to him, if actualised, the country’s revenue generation will increase significantly, adding that, only five African countries are currently printing their currencies in the company.
On staff welfare, he said the company is doing everything to make staff comfortable.
“Human capital development is a great asset and as such staff welfare must be improved upon.
“We have cleared all backlog of promotions except for 2018.
“If the staff is not happy, there will be no meaningful achievement in any organisation. We have packages for those exiting the company, there are skills acquisition programmes among others,” he said.
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