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Sri Lanka to launch new digital ID contract tender before 2023 runs out

Sri Lanka to launch new digital ID contract tender before 2023 runs out

A tender to select a firm to print Sri Lanka’s new digital ID cards will be launched before 2023 winds down, and the announcement of the winner will be made within the first quarter of next year.

The country’s State Technology Minister Kanaka Herath disclosed this information during a media briefing in the capital Colombo on Monday December 18, according to News First.

The government official said the decision to relaunch the tender by year-end was arrived at during a recent meeting of the Joint Project Monitoring Committee.

Sri Lanka is refloating the tender after it turned out that neither of the two Indian firms that had earlier submitted bids for the contract met the requirements. They were thus disqualified and a decision taken to redo the bidding process.

Earlier reports that the contract had been awarded to Madras Security Printers were met with concerns about irregularities in the tender process as well as data privacy concerns.

India is offering both technical and financial support to Sri Lanka to put in place a Unique Digital Identity Card with embedded biometric data that will grant holders access to many services from government and the private sector. In August, the country made an advance payment of $5.4 million.

Sri Lankan government officials say work is ongoing to begin enrollment for the digital ID next year with new applicants.

In preparation for the enrollment of Sri Lankans’ face biometrics, the government has stipulated a maximum fee for ID photos taken by registered photographers of 400 Sri Lankan rupees (US$1.22), News 1st reports. Photos submitted are required to be taken by a registered photographer to ensure compliance with standards for ID documents. The fee was previously capped at Rs 150 ($0.46).

By January, work on some basic issues related to the project is expected to begin in earnest. This is in line with conclusions of a recent meeting between some Indian and Sri Lankan government officials, reports Sunday Observer.

Last month, Sri Lanka also announced plans to launch a tender for the production of five million chip-embedded biometric passports.

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