24 April 2019

Tanzania: Govt to Help Tanzanians Without National IDs Register SIM Cards Biometrically

Photo: William Oeri
A mobile phone user inserts a SIM card into a phone. Kenya has launched a campaign to register all mobile phone subscribers.

Dodoma — The government will find alternative ways to enable Tanzanians without national identification cards (IDs) or ID numbers register biometrically their Sim cards from May 1, 2019.

The Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) had last week that announced that all Sim cards will have to be registered biometrically using national IDs (or national IDs numbers) with effect from May 1. But it came to light that many eligible citizens and other residents have no national IDs or national ID numbers.

Home Affairs minister Kangi Lugola told Parliament today, April 24, 2019 that the government would think of alternative means to help those who do not have national IDs or national ID number.

He categorically stated that only those who have applied for IDs but are yet to receive the IDs or ID numbers will be facilitated. Since the national ID exercise started only a small percentage of applicants received national IDs, many more received national ID numbers without the cards. And yet others received neither the IDs no the ID numbers. The deadline for the biometric Sim card registration is December 31, 2019.

"I understand that many people do not have national IDs. They can't pay the price for our faults, we will think of how to help those who applied for the IDs but are yet to get them," said Mr Lugola.

He was reacting to Special Seats MP Felister Bura (CCM), who sought to know the government's plan to enable all Tanzanians register their Sim cards biometrically despite the fact that the majority were yet to collect national IDs.

According to Mr Lugola, 16 million Tanzanians out of the targeted 24.5 million have national ID numbers.

Works, Transport and Communications deputy minister Atashasta Nditiye said: "We will undertake a review on September 30 to identify the challenges and act accordingly."

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