The Guyana Government on Friday signed a US$34.5 million contract with Veridos – a German-based provider of integrated identity solutions – to implement an electronic identification system locally which will see new identification numbers and cards being issued to Guyanese.
The system, once fully implemented, will also help the government with its issuance of work permits and other necessary documentation for resident identification.
The signing was done virtually and broadcast live from State House in Georgetown where President Irfaan Ali, Prime Minister Mark Phillips, and Finance Minister Dr. Ashni Singh were present.
Also joining virtually were representatives from Veridos and Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum from the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Guyana sought assistance from UAE in October 2021 and was put in touch with two internationally recognised companies that later presented its national identification solutions to the Guyanese authorities.
With Veridos selected, the new ID system will be tailored to Guyana and boasts a range of features including but not limited to greater privacy, ISO certification, cross-border protection, and acceptance by the International Civil Aviation Organization for international travel.
“After a long process, today I’m happy we are at a stage we can sign this contract and move towards implementation,” Dr. Ali said.
“We are advancing our work in the technological transformation to position Guyana to be among those countries that are ready for the new digital age,” Dr. Ali added.
The system allows for the capturing of an individual’s biographic and biometric information which will be stored centrally but printed on laser-engraved polycarbonate material using black-and-white technology with secure pre-printed designs. It will carry a chip to allow for the integration of a variety of services.
Many countries have already implemented the electronic identification system as part of their national identity management programme to promote e-government and other services.
“It promotes the idea of one citizen, one identity, assigning a unique national identification number to all citizens,” Dr. Ali said and he pointed to the expanded benefits for the private sector, particularly the banking sector.
The cards offer fingerprint verification for cardholders with the current need for proof of address when conducting transactions at financial institutions to soon be eliminated.
The system altogether will share data internationally but focuses locally on an integrated identification system across government agencies and the private sector.
“The privacy aspect of this card is second to none,” Dr. Ali added.
For the implementation of the project, there will be a central ID processing system, pre, mobile, and fixed enrollment stations, delivery stations, laser engraving, and the development of a biometric engine to store records, making it available internationally.
There will be other implementation services including training of administrators and operations, the setting up of a local help desk and six months of assistance following the initial 12 months implementation time frame.
The cards will be produced at the company’s facilities where there is full European Union Security level clearance.