12 September 2018

Uganda: Government to Borrow Shs400b for CCTV Camera Project

Kampala — Cabinet has approved the borrowing from private banks of Shs400 billion to finance expansion of the CCTV camera project.

The Information minister, Mr Frank Tumwebaze, yesterday said the money will be used to design and build the command and control centres where the CCTV cameras will be monitored from.

"The consortium of banks led by Standard Chartered Bank will finance the project," he said.

On Sunday, President Museveni said installation of CCTV cameras will help reduce criminality in urban areas adding that he expects the project to be completed in one-years time.

About the cameras

Police and Huawei experts, the company contracted to set up the system, have already started installing the CCTV cameras in different parts of the Kampala Metropolitan Area.

The procured CCTV cameras can ably detect number plates of vehicles and faces of suspects.

In March last year after the death of police spokesman Assistant Inspector General of Police Andrew Felix Kaweesi, President Museveni ordered the Finance ministry to provide funds for the procurement of CCTV cameras.

However, his directive was not implemented until the death of Arua Municipality legislator, Abrahim Abiriga, in June when the Finance ministry started on the CCTV camera funding process.

In May this year, Parliament passed a Shs60 billion supplementary budget for CCTV cameras for the first phase of installation.

The police force wanted $124m (Shs470b)for the implementation of the national CCTV project. They are scheduled to be allocated in three instalments of $17.4m(Shs66b), $61m(Shs231b) and $45m(Shs170m) if CCTV cameras are to be installed in all major towns and busy highways across the country as per the President's directive.

Criticised

Unwanted Witness, a privacy rights defender organisation, has been critical of the installation of surveillance cameras without a law on privacy and data protection.

The Data Protection and Privacy Bill 2015 is still in Parliament pending debate.

It outlines the rights of individuals whose data is collected and the obligations of data collectors and data processors; and it regulates the use or disclosure of personal information.

The Bill was tabled before Parliament in April 2016.

Unwanted Witness says without the law, government could use the collected data to harass its critics.

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