The government on December 28 officially launched a “Smart ID Card” for civil servants, having selected three local banks to print this new breed of card, which can also be used for everyday financial and banking needs.

These banks are ACLEDA Bank Plc, Canadia Bank Plc and Wing Bank (Cambodia) Plc. The initiative was spearheaded by the Ministry of Civil Service, having been authorised by the government on November 5, 2021 to proceed with the project.

Speaking at the launch ceremony, the civil service minister affirmed that the Smart ID Cards will have a validity of 10 years and can be used to receive salaries as well as in a variety of other ways, but noted that it cannot serve as a replacement for a National ID Card in every circumstance.

Prum Sokha stressed that the ministry, along with the Digital Government Committee, have been laser-focused on the initiative, as a building block in the modernisation and innovation of public administration, which is seen as a major driver of the digital-government journey.

These efforts, Sokha said, were inspired by the Fourth Industrial Revolution and Covid-19 trends, as well as the Cambodia Digital Economy and Society Policy Framework 2021-2035, which he described as a comprehensive roadmap for the Kingdom’s socio-economic digital transformation.

“This collaboration has yielded a sprout, as part of government and digital society policies as well as the Ministry of Civil Service’s efforts to modernise digital systems,” he said.

At the same event, ACLEDA executive vice-president So Phonnary confirmed that the new Smart ID Cards will support CSS (Cambodian Shared Switch) transactions and can be used to withdraw, deposit and transfer money as well as top up mobile phones, in addition to creating virtual cards through an ACLEDA ATM.

“The introduction of the new ID Cards for civil servants illustrates how closely-linked, mutually supportive and even inseparable the public and private sectors can be.

“Moreover, these results show that the public and private sectors – or more broadly Cambodia as a whole – are using modern technologies to make progress, much like other developed countries in the region and beyond,” she said.

The ministry’s IT chief, Yeun Sambath, confirmed at the event that Smart ID Card processing had begun nearly a week before the launch.

He said that as of December 28, a total of 17 government agencies had sent applications for 1,859 civil servants, out of the Kingdom’s estimated “more than 220,000”, and that 497 cards had been printed for officials at 11 agencies – exclusively ministries. The Post understands that these 497 cards were handed over at the event.

Sambath shared that the government had pursued a similar initiative many years ago, but that this undertaking has been on hold since 2015. With this in mind, he said, the ministry’s General Department of IT – which Sambath heads – leveraged new technological advancements to prepare the new Smart ID Card system.

Addressing potential data privacy concerns, he assured that the ministry had the three banks sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement before penning a memorandum of understanding on March 24 concerning the Smart ID Card project.