May 28, 2011 - 13:18 AMT
Polish PWPW waiting for decision on issuing biometric passports for Armenia

It was announced in February that Polish PWPW S.A. (Polish Security Printing Works) and French Oberthur have won a tender to print IDs and biometric passports for Armenia. However it is not decided yet which of these two companies will introduce the new documents in Armenia.

Both bidders have they strengths. Specifically, Polish PWPW S.A. has asked much less for the job. The price will influence the cost of biometric passports and ID cards for Armenians: the smaller the amount of the bid is the less will Armenian citizens pay. Rumors are spread that the passport produced by PWPW will be 5 thousand drams cheaper and ID card – 1 thousand drams cheaper than Oberthur’s products. It is important, taking into consideration the current economic situation in Armenia.

Besides, PWPW S.A. is stronger in passport production – the company has its own fully equipped paper mill and does not depend on security paper deliveries. Oberthur is viewed as slightly stronger in ID cards (apart from the price). But PWPW owns a unique technology also in this field, which allows for a color photo in polycarbonate cards.

The decision on which company is going to be the winner should become known soon. New biometric passports and ID cards are expected to be introduced in Armenia in the end of 2011. All citizens aged 16 and above will be required to possess ID cards. Those traveling abroad will also need to obtain biometric passports.