Contract for e-ID cards single-sourced due to security reasons – Attorney General
Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall, SC, has clarified that the contract for the development of the national electronic identification card (e-ID), was done in conformity with the procurement laws of Guyana.
The government recently signed a US$35.4 million contract with German-based company, Veridos Identify Solutions for the implementation of the e-ID card in Guyana.
Electronic identification is a digital solution for proof of identity of citizens or organisations. They can be used to access benefits or services provided by government agencies, banks or other companies, for mobile payments among other things.
The attorney general during his weekly programme cited security concerns as one of the major factors for the decision to single-source the company that will be developing the system.
“These are not contracts that can go into open tendering. They involve matters of social security, they involve national documents that require protective mechanisms that you can’t go on the open market to compete for,” Minister Nandlall explained.
He emphasised, ‘That is how it is done all over the world. [Have] You ever see a government advertise publicly to buy passports? …We have complied with the procurement act in respect of these types of services”.
Senior Minister in the Office of the President with Responsibility for Finance, Dr Ashni Singh had also defended the government’s decision to single source the contract for the development of the electronic IDs.
Dr Singh stressed that it was done in keeping with Guyana’s legislation and added that the German company is an ‘internationally reputable group’.
President, Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali, at the recent contract signing, noted that the electronic identification cards will not only enhance the way transactions are being done in Guyana, but will be one of the most technologically advanced.
The cards will be compliant with 18013-5 of the ISO Standard and will be accepted by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) for international travel.
Its capabilities are also in keeping with the government’s commitment to promoting e-governance to improve the productivity of businesses and the delivery of government services through the introduction of e-health, e-education, e-security, e-agriculture and license processing among other areas.