Saturday, March 9, 2019

France to help set up security printing facility

Nepal and France today signed an agreement to set up state-of-art security printing facilities and Nepal's satellite plan with the French assistance and
The two countries signed two separate memorandums of understanding (MoU), one of which is aimed at setting up of security printing – in the absence of which the government and private firms are spending billions of rupees abroad annually – and another to provide concessional financial aid and technical support to Nepal to operate and manage Nepal's own satellite.
Nepal can print passports, banknotes, all kinds of smart cards, question papers and stickers once the security printing press is set up in the country. Head of the security printing division under the Ministry of Information and Communications Bikal Poudel – on behalf of the government – signed the memorandum with INGROUPE, a French government undertaking. The security printing is likely to be set up at Information and Technology Park in Banepa, Kavre.
Currently, the passports, and especially banknotes are being printed in different parts of the world. But the separate printing blocks that will be set up at the project site, including one bullet-proof structure where banknotes will be printed will save the country billions.
Nepal and France will sign the final agreement during prime minister KP Sharma Oli’s visit to France in June. By then both the government will work out on financial modality and cost. The financial modality could be technology transfer based on build-operate-and-transfer (BOT) model or foreign direct investment (FDI) or French loan and aid.
The primary estimation has it that the security printing facility would cost around $300 million (Rs 30 billion).
Earlier, the Ministry of Information and Communications had held negotiations with the German government to set up security printing facilities but the deal could not come to conclusion due to financial arrangements. And the French company came into scene showing its interest to assist Nepal in setting up security printing facilities.
Among the two memorandum, France is also willing to provide concessional financial aid and technical support to Nepal to operate and manage Nepal's own satellite – estimated to cost Rs 20 billion – in the orbital slot provided by the International Tele-communications Union (ITU).
According to the Ministry of Information and Communications, the ITU has provided orbital slot (123.3 E) to Nepal for its dedicated satellite, but due to the technological and financial constraints, Nepal has not been able to utilise it.


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