Jul 16 2013, 2:08am CDT | by Luigi Lugmayr
Addis Ababa, July 16 — Three Indian companies are in contention to print first ever standardized cheques of the National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE). The companies are Shree Nidhi Secure Printing Plc (SNSP), Madras Security Printers Plc (MSP) and Manipal Group, according to sources at the NBE.
In a bid to avoid forgery and expedite cheque clearing and settlement, the NBE, along with Ethiopian Bankers' Association (EBA), made a decision to standardize all cheques from banks across the country. This will be marked by the inclusion of security features that are hard to replicate and a technology solution, called Magnetic Ink Character Recognition (MICR).
The NBE had floated a selective tender in May 2013. It was aimed at selecting and approving authorized MICR cheque printing companies, which Ethiopian banks could use, the sources said.
Established in 1994, SNSP specializes in manufacturing printing cheque books, variable data printing, security printing printers and binders. On the other hand, MSP, which was founded 25 years ago, is involved in smartcard and security printing activities for the banking sector as well as revenue authorities.
The companies' cheques are already standardized in India. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had previously given all banks a deadline of January 2012 to standardize cheques. This was according to a benchmark that required a standard quality of paper, watermark, invisible bank logo and other security features.
Proposals from the companies will be evaluated by a bid committee starting this week. The committee includes the property and services management and clearing and settlement department heads of the NBE, along with advisers from commercial banks.
The evaluation process will include preliminary technical evaluation of mandatory requirements, a non-technical evaluation, reference site and financial evaluation. Once a proposal passes the technical evaluations, it will be given marks out of a hundred, based on non-technical evaluation. This will make up 40 percent of the grade, with financial evaluations making up the other 60 percent.
If the winners are one of those companies, they are expected to print 231,513 corporate cheque books with 50 leaves each, 154,345 cheque books with 100 leaves each and 21,198 and 12,050 personal cheque books with 25 and 50 leaves each, respectively.
Seven companies had participated in the tender by the extended bid closing date of July 9, 2013. Two participants, Ethiopian Trade Contract (ET-CON), known in the financial sector for providing note and coin counting machines from Sweden and Sudan Currency Printing Press (SCPP), were disqualified.
However, TALL Security Print Plc, a UK company known for business cheques, credit and secure encoded documents, and provides electronic payment solutions to financial institutions. De La Rue Security Print, specialized in manufacturing and producing banknotes along with commercial security printing and papermaking, is still in the competition.
(Hadra Ahmed can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
--Indo-Asian News Servicve
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