Passport shortage affects students - Solomon Star News

Passport shortage affects students
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14 February 2019
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LOCAL students preparing to travel overseas to undertake their studies this year have been affected with the current shortage of ordinary passports.

Reports reaching the paper said the current green coloured passports are out of stock and Government is currently in the process of sourcing more passports after payments were made.

Only the Official passport in blue colour and the Diplomatic passports in red colour are still in stock, an immigration officer said.

Several attempts to confirm with the Immigration Director was not positive but it was confirm through Immigration officials that they are currently ran out of e-passports

When asked what were the reasons for this hiccup the officer told this paper that the  Solomon Islands Democratic Coalition for Change Government (SIDCCG) cannot settle outstanding bills with the producer of the e-passports.

The officer further added that lately the government has already made payments for new consignments.

The officer cannot confirm when exactly the new consignments will arrive.

The e-passport's out of stock situation has caused problems for new students preparing to travel overseas for their studies and for those that travel for urgent matters.

This paper also understands that since the introduction of the e-passport the cost for a e-passport is $1000 and yet the government cannot settle their outstanding bill.

Meanwhile this paper understands that Solomon Islands Government contracted the IRISH group to produce electronic passports in 2017.

The IRISH group a Malaysian company which pioneered the world's first electronic passport and national multi application smart cards.

This was one of the highlights of the current Caretaker Deputy Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare when he boasts so much about the electronic passport project just recently when Kadere Party launch their party Manifesto.

By ANDREW FANASIA

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