New Crash Looms for Bulgaria's Biometric ID System
The issuing of the new Bulgarian ID documents faces another crash, the Deputy Interior Minister, Pavlin Dimitrov, told the Bulgarian National Television, BNT, on Wednesday.
The reason is the fact the maker of the software, the German Siemens, had not delivered the needed forms, Dimitrov said, adding the company is not fulfilling most of their commitments.
According to the Deputy Minister, by May 30 Siemens had to deliver 400 000 covers for the new biometric data passports, but only 393 000 were received two and half months later, while nothing has yet arrived from the additional 300 000 covers, ordered by the Interior.
Dimitrov stated communications with Siemens are very difficult and managers decline to discuss any of their responsibilities and commitments.
“The company vowed to deliver 35 000 covers weekly. Two days later, they sent us a letter informing they actually can deliver only 20 000. The next day they called me to say it could be no more than 9 000. The Director of the “Bulgarian ID Documents” Department, Maria Kostadinova, became ill over worries about these issues and is listed in the hospital,” the Deputy Minister pointed out.
Following its launch on March 29, the new electronic system for issuing personal identity documents, including biometric data passports, was overwhelmed by the number of users online and temporary and sporadic delays in servicing citizens’ needs occurred, with the Interior blaming mostly the German Siemens, which manufactured the software.
In an attempt to eliminate the long lines, the Interior decided to keep passport offices open on Saturdays in the month of July. A new boom is expected for November and December when many Bulgarians will realize their ID documents are expiring.
It is estimated that 1 million new id documents have been issued so far.
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