Dr Joe Abah, the Director-General of Bureau of Public Service Reforms, has linked the recent insufficiency of the Nigerian passports to the high dollar exchange rate.. Abah disclosed this during an interview with the Newsmen in Abuja on Monday.
According to him, the dollar which was formerly exchanging between N150 to N160 was now N300 and above. He further added that the passport was not produced in Nigeria because only three companies in the world had the knowledge and technical know-how to produce an international travel passport. These were his exact words:
“The reason for the scarcity is because since it’s not produced in the country, Nigeria had a contract with the foreign firm to do most of the production. And at the time the contract was signed, 100 dollars was worth N15,000 which is the cost of the Nigerian passport of 32 pages, the 64 pages costs N20, 000. “So with the naira being so much against the dollar, it meant that the N15, 000 paid by individuals will only amount to 30 dollars not 100 dollars.
“So the money citizens were paying simply could not buy it anymore and government was a bit reluctant to increase the price three fold. Currently, the government is making efforts to look for ways to subsidize the cost until we can produce the passport in country or dollar drops.’’
He further stated that it would take a lot of investment to have all the element of the passport produced in the country as the tread used in sewing it and paper for the leaflet were both difficult to come by.