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Sri Lanka prepares to tender contract for 5M biometric passports

Sri Lanka prepares to tender contract for 5M biometric passports

Sri Lanka is planning to launch a tender for the issuance of 5 million chip-embedded biometric passports, The Sunday Times reports.

The Ministry of Public Security’s Cabinet-Appointed Procurement Committee (CAPC) says the process will meet international standards for competitive bidding. Bidders should have an annual average turnover of US$17 million or higher, and cash flow of at least $1 million, according to the report. The bidder should also not be blacklisted.

The country is about to re-run a tender process for its national digital ID, after the company winning the first contract bid, Madras Security Printers (MSP), was disqualified. The first tender process was allegedly manipulated to favor MSP.

The Ministry also recently called for a tender to print 5 million national ID cards.

Sri Lanka introduced fingerprint scans for passports with machine readable zones to support ICAO biometric comparisons back in 2015.

World Bank funds digitalization

Sri Lanka is still emerging from a sovereign default in 2022, and the World Bank has stepped up with funding to support a package of reforms that includes digitization, EconomyNext reports.

The proposed reforms include the digitalization of government services, but the report notes fears that the country’s digital ID could be misused by an authoritarian government in the future.

The World Bank has approved $850 million in credit for Sri Lanka already this year, according to the report. A bank official said during a recent visit that the country’s economy is showing signs of stabilization.

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