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Uganda mulls requiring return of old identity cards to issue new generation IDs

Uganda mulls requiring return of old identity cards to issue new generation IDs
 

Ugandan authorities are studying a plan which may require citizens holding old and expired cards to hand them back before new ID cards are issued to them in the new dispensation.

This idea is being considered to discourage a common phenomenon in the country whereby money lenders collect ID cards from borrowers as collateral for loans, reports Kampala Dispatch.

A spokesman for the National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA), Osborn Mushabe, recently said the proposal is still under consideration and that citizens will eventually be informed if it becomes a rule.

For those who have misplaced their ID cards, he urged them to get a replacement as soon as possible before the process to issue the new generation IDs begins.

Mushabe used the press conference to underline the importance of having an ID card, and called on Ugandans to massively show up for the enrollment and renewal exercises when they kick off. This year, Uganda is expected to begin a mass enrollment process to register new citizens for ID cards, as well as a renewal drive that will issue new highly-secured ID cards to citizens whose old cards have reached expiration.

Last year, a NIRA official raised concerns over the high rate of foreigners going for the Ugandan national ID.

New ID will have iris biometrics

In a FAQ document, NIRA has addressed a number of important issues related to the enrollment and renewal processes.

The agency say it is adding iris biometrics to the new ID card, which shall also be used as a travel document within the East Africa Region. The card, the body says, will also contain other advanced security features that ensure ID verification and authentication without any fear of personal data being compromised.

The ID-issuing authority also notes that in order to facilitate the ID enrollment process, it is setting up mobile enrolment sites in 10,594 parishes in all 146 districts in the country.

Measures have been taken to ensure the renewal and enrolment processes are also done online, but biometric capture will happen at an enrolment site closest to the applicant.

In order to facilitate the enrolment or renewal process for people who are unable to reach a parish on their own due to illness or old age, NIRA says it is working out a strategy with some partners to have the service rendered to them.

The government agency is also taking measures to facilitate service for those in barracks, prisons, orphanages and other specialized social centers.

Enrollment for the new generation ID was supposed to begin last year but the plan was stalled for a couple of reasons.

NIRA accused of not collaborating with Uganda printing company

In another story involving NIRA, the ID-issuing authority has been accused of not fully collaborating with the Uganda Security Printing Company (USPC), a government entity bestowed with the responsibility to execute security printing jobs.

Members of the Parliamentary Committee on Defence and Internal Affairs were told recently that NIRA had refused to offer the ID card production contract to the USPC.

The printing company is being set up thanks to a public-private partnership deal between the government and German secure ID solutions company Veridos, Independent reports.

The printer has been producing other credentials such as biometric passports, but officials running it say it doesn’t have enough revenue like it should have had due to lack of jobs from NIRA.

Work to fully set up the printing facility is said to be at least 70 percent gone, but lack of funds could delay delivery of the project by about six months. It was supposed to be delivered by December this year.

The printing contract with Veridos has been the subject of a parliamentary probe in the past.

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