According to a forum that took place at the National Chamber of Commerce, the Government will pump in Rs. 10 billion for the Ministry of Telecommunication and Digital Infrastructure to infuse 64 projects in its first year of operation. Speaking at the forum was Telecommunications and Digital Infrastructure Minister Harin Fernando who went on to explain that the main projects in the pipeline currently are the digital identity card, digital key, islandwide fibre optic connectivity and Google loon.
In response to a query raised by National Chamber of Commerce President Thilak Godamanna with regard to digital identity cards, the Minister replied stating that the first digital identity card would be introduced in the latter part of 2016.
The Minister when on to explain that these projects are a new thing that they are trying to get the citizens of Sri Lanka to be familiar with. As such, they do not wish to bail on it hence they are taking their time to see that everything is carried properly carried out. With any luck, according to what the Minister said, the first DNIC (Digital National Identity Card) should be issued by the end of 2016 at minimum and the tender will come out before the Sinhalese and Tamil New Year in April.
He did, however state that the procurement processes which was already consuming a bulk of the time of the entire project was rather tiresome and had thus in turn hindered a number of other projects from proceeding.
The Minister explained that despite being a Minister, his Ministry too faces issues when trying to get approvals. He added that that that was a major deterrent for the business community and unfortunately his Ministry too is a victim of it.
However, he added that that despite a number of projects been stalled due to the procurement processes, he has brought the issue up with higher authorities and that they hope to get sorted in the not too distant future.