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Nepal considers $14M biometric national ID card bids from Thales and Idemia

digital identity biometric registration

Competing bids from Thales and Idemia are being considered by Nepal’s government for a national biometric ID card program, which would see the distribution of 12 million units, the Kathmandu Post reports.

The Post reports bids of $14.38 million from Thales and $14.61 million from Idemia, which delivered approximately 117,000 of the biometric cards under a pilot program, with the first cards issued in 2018. Previous contracts have included citizen registration and biometric enrollment, as well as deduplication of the biometric database.

Each is represented by a local partner, Waves Group Trading in the case of Thales and Advantage Group for Idemia. The Thales bid was submitted by the company’s Singapore regional office.

The bid includes designing, manufacturing, supplying, delivering, testing and production support for the biometric cards, which will be used for access to a range of government services.

The country’s issuance plans were delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, but a decision on the tender is expected soon, as they are currently before the evaluation committee. The government had set a goal of registering 10 million people during the current fiscal year, but only 3 million have been registered so far.

The Post writes that Idemia was previously also awarded a $16 million contract for the biometric card project without competitive bidding, sparking controversy and a nullification of the contract.

The latest contract specifies the delivery of 2 million cards within six months of it being awarded.

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