Director General, Department of Immigration and Passports Major General M Masud Rezwan and Chief Executive Officer, Veridos Hans Wolfgang Kunz exchanging documents after signing a deal on behalf of their respective sides
: The government inked an agreement with Germany on July 19 to introduce e-passports (electronic passports) for the country's citizens' to strengthen security and prevent fraudulence.
Bangladesh and Germany signed the deal on government-to-government arrangement for e-passports following the government's decision to issue electronic passports alongside the machine readable passports (MRP), report agencies.
Director General of Department of Immigration and Passports Major General M Masud Rezwan and Chief Executive Officer of Veridos Hans Wolfgang Kunz signed the deal on behalf of their respective sides at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC) in the city.
Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal attended the signing ceremony as the chief guest while German State Minister for Foreign Affairs Niels Annen witnessed it.
The long-term Euro 340 million deal covers the entire value-chain for e-passports - from security paper right through to e-gates. The contract will run for 12 years.
The solution includes the set-up of a local passport factory with high-tech equipment.
The project will ease travel for Bangladeshi citizens and increase border control efficiency, says the German side.
World-leading identity solutions provider Veridos is a joint venture of Giesecke+Devrient and state-owned Bundesdruckerei GmbH.
Addressing the programme, Asaduzzaman said, "It's a commitment between the heads of the governments of Bangladesh and Germany to introduce e-passport. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Germany on February 18, 2017."
"Through the signing of the agreement, we're moving towards one step ahead," the minister said.
Besides, e-gates will be installed at every airport and land port across the country, he said.
The government took the initiative to introduce e-passport for easing the immigration activities easily, the minister added.
Khan said the government has so far given over 20 million MRPs to Bangladeshi nationals and more than 1.1 million machine readable visas (MRV) to foreign nationals for travelling Bangladesh.
"We are materialising the digital Bangladesh with the introduction of e-passports," he added.
He said the MRPs would be continued until the launching of the e-passports.
The government introduced MRPs and MRVs in 2010 with the help of Armed Forces Division to make the people's foreign visits smooth and safe, he mentioned.
The minister said 118 countries have already introduced e-passports to make immigration management more accurate, easier, time-saving and convenient.
The German state minister said that Bangladesh achieved remarkable progressed in a very short time after the independence.
"Through this agreement, Bangladesh is moving forward towards its challenge with the help of a German company" Niels Annen added.