Foreign Ministry cancels e-Passport bidding
The Foreign Ministry has cancelled the latest round of e-bidding for the Third Phase of Thailand's Electronic Passport (e-Passport III), citing a lack of competition as only one qualified bidder has come forward.
The e-auction was to be held for the production of 15 million Thai electronic passports in a project worth 12 billion baht due to start in March of next year.
Since there was only one bidder which matched the mark set for the project, the committee has decided to cancel e-bidding round announced in April "to ensure fair competition and to safeguard the benefit of the public sector", according to a ministry statement signed by permanent secretary Busaya Mathelin.
Otherwise, the ministry was expected to announce the result of the bidding on Friday.
Director-General of the Department of Consular Affairs Chatri Archjananun said that it is normal for agencies in the public sector to cancel the bidding process if they see that it is in the public interest to do so, adding that the cancellation is in compliance with the Government Procurement Act of BE 2560.
The new round of bidding which will be "open to all" will be publicly announced soon, and the bidders who had participated in the cancelled round will also be allowed to participate, according to the director-general.
In February, the ministry revised its terms of reference and extended the time frame for the bidding process for the project upon request by prospective bidders.
The Isra News Agency earlier reported that four bidders including Chan Wanich Co Ltd had joined the bidding process.
The company has been contracted to produce Thai passports for the ministry in two phases. On Chanwanich Security Printing's website, it was also stated that the company has been producing passports for the ministry since 1992.
In a related issue, Mr Chatri said that while the delay will affect the time frame of the passport improvement scheme, it will not affect consular services and the proposed extension of passport validity, from five to 10 years. This will allow Thai citizens to choose a passport to adequately accommodate the needs of citizens granted overseas visas of longer than five years.