Norway to spend 700 million kroner on new national ID cards

In 2007, it was estimated that providing new national ID cards to residents of Norway would cost 14 million kroner ($1.7 million, €1.5 million). Today, the price tag has ballooned to over 700 million kroner ($86 million, €73 million).

According to Aftenposten, new figures in the government’s national budget estimated the cost of the project at 596 million kroner. On top of that, converting passport offices nationwide to handle the new cards will cost an additional 120 million kroner.

The national identification cards are expected to be ready by 2020 at the earliest. They were originally supposed to be completed by December 2016 but the project has been delayed five times. According to Aftenposten’s report, the costs have steadily increased along the way due to a variety of problems and an increased project scope.

The government said that the increased costs are the result of “actual cost increases” and “measures deemed necessary”.

The current justice minister, Thor Mikkel Wara of the Progress Party, is the sixth minister to be responsible for the ID card project. He took over for party colleague Sylvi Listhaug, who resigned in March following a motion of no confidence against her by opposition parties spurred by a public outcry over a Facebook post in which she accused Labour of considering that "the rights of terrorists are more important than the security of the nation".

"The project has not been planned well from the start. At the same time, there has been poor management from the Police Directorate and poor follow-up from the ministry. That meant that a long time passed before we were aware of the problems,” Listhaug told VG in March.

The idea behind the new ID cards is to give Norwegians travel documentation for journeys within the Schengen Area and give access to various national public services.

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