20 April 2017

Uganda: National IDs - Applicants Decrease After Extension

There is a sharp reduction in the number of people seeking to register or pick their national identity cards from National Identity Registration Centres following the extension sim card verification deadline to May 19.

On Wednesday, government extended the sim card verification exercise for one month following complaints that the week's deadline set by Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) was insufficient.

The 7-day ultimatum declared by UCC expired this morning. Following the announcement of the deadline last week, thousands of Ugandans thronged National Identification Registration Authority (NIRA) offices across the country to pick or register for national identity cards.

The national identity card is the only acceptable document for sim card registration and verification. This morning, URN visited Kampala Central and Lubaga Division headquarters and NIRA headquarters at Kololo to assess the turn up of applicants after the extension of the sim card registration deadline.

At Central Division office located on William street, less than 100 people turned up to pick their national identity cards far below the number that showed up on Wednesday.

Gadafi Ssesolo, one of the applicants told URN that he will not give up until he receives his identity card.

"I want to finish this process because time will come again when we will be asked to present IDs and everyone will again come here," he said. Adding that, "I was here yesterday and I am here today because I have learn't that the national identity card is very important."

Lubaga division was overcrowded by national Identity card applicants on Wednesday forcing the officers to lock out some applicants to avoid congestion. However, there fewer applicants this morning compared on Wednesday.

However, at the NIRA head offices in Kololo, people are still turning up to apply for national identity cards in large numbers. Over 200 people had arrived at Kololo by 11am this morning. The authority has even installed a public address system at Kololo to ease communication.

On arrival, people are given numbers and told to sit in the pavilion and their applications are processed. Once the process is completed the officers call the applicants on the public address system.

Josephine Kigozi, 40, who turned up to apply for identity card replacement argued that NIRA should improve its service for people who lost IDs.

"They have everything in the system. It's a matter of printing IDs instead of making us wait like people who are applying for the first time," Kigozi said.

NIRA public relations and corporate affairs manager, Gilbert Kadilo told URN on Wednesday that there is no leeway for shortening the process of issuing national identity cards.

"We shall do what we can within the extension time; we cannot give everyone an ID in a month because of the process and procedure we follow before giving identity cards," Kadilo said.


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