The National Identification and Registration Authority -NIRA is scheduled to undertake a Mass enrolment and renewal exercise of the National IDs beginning January 2023 at a cost of 430.73 billion Shillings.
Gen. David Muhoozi, the Minister of State for Internal Affairs. Photo by Olive Nakatudde
The Minister of State
for Internal Affairs, Gen. David Muhoozi says that there will not be any payment
by Ugandans for acquisition of National Identity Cards, even where they
seek to make changes.
Muhoozi also says that
even for the planned renewal exercise, Ugandans will not be required to pay; it is foreigners who seek the provision of alien cards that will pay.
The clarification comes
at after time sections of the public questioned a proposal indicating that it would
be a requirement for citizens to pay a yet to be determined fee to acquire
The move was also
opposed by a section of MPs who argued that National IDs are a right and that commercializing
their issuance would not be good for Ugandans who are still struggling to
recover from the effects of Covid-19.
Bwiire Nadeeba, the Bulamogi
questioned the commercialization of issuance of Identity cards. He said that
there are people who cannot even earn 50,000 Shillings a month.
“There are people who
cannot even earn 50,000 Shillings a month. The moment money is involved, they
will make it optional and yet security experts need the document to ensure
safety of the country,” said Bwiire Nadeeba, the Bulamogi MP.
Iddi Isabirye, Bunya
South MP also said that the issuance of National IDs for any reason should be
free of charge to Ugandans. Dr. Isamat Abraham, the Kapir County MP also shares
the same sentiment.
“The issue of National
ID should be free of charge as our constituents cannot afford to pay for the
cards, so the position should be that IDs should be free of charge,” Isamat says.
Florence Kabugho, the Kasese
Woman MP says that Ugandans should be given a privilege to enjoy their
citizenship and not charge them money to access National IDs.
She said that
most people cannot afford money to feed later on pay for an ID.
In his statement to
Parliament on Thursday, Gen. Muhoozi justified the expiry and renewal process
of national IDs by the National Identification and Registration Authority
(NIRA) which is scheduled to undertake a Mass enrolment and renewal exercise
beginning January 2023 at a cost of 430.73 billion Shillings.
The exercise targets registration of the remaining 17.2 million unregistered citizens, substitution
of National ID cards upon expiry in 2024 and upgrade of Citizen National ID
Card to a Smart Card (e-ID, and creation of the Personal Digital ldentity).
The exercise will also
see the upgrade of the identification system and integration of the recognition
biometric technology and DNA in the NIRA system, aliens registration,
substitution of aged registration kits and implementation of Business
Continuity for the National Security and Identification System.
“There are 17.2 million
Ugandans who have never been registered -an average of 1,623 persons unregistered
per parish. Of the 1,623, it is assumed that 50% (8l2) are above 18 years and
812 are below 18 years. Of the 812 below 18 years, it is assumed that 50% are
below seven years and therefore will not have biometrics taken. It is assumed urbanized
areas may have up to 2000 people per parish and rural areas between 800 -1000
persons,” reads part of Muhoozi’s statement.
Section 69 (a) of the Registration
of Persons Act, provides that, a National Identification Card shall be valid
for such time as the Minister shall prescribe by regulation.
Under Regulation 19(1)
of the Registration of Persons Regulations, a Notional ldentification Card
shall be valid for a period of ten years from the date of issue and shall be
renewable in accordance with set regulations. Furthermore, Regulation 23 (1)
provides that a holder of a national identification card shall apply to the
Authority in a prescribed form for renewal of at least two months before the
expiry of the card.
“The first batch of
National ldentity cards totaling to 15.8 million were printed and issued out
during the National Security and Information Systems Project in the financial year
2014/2015 and will expire between August 2024 and June 2025 which justifies the
requirement for renewal,” says Muhoozi.
The Mass renewal and
enrolment exercise will cover 70,626 villages, 10,595 parishes, 2,184
sub-counties and 146 districts.
He reveals that the
security features on the polycarbonate material used to make ID cards deteriorate
progressively and are severely compromised after 10 years and that the biometric
features used in the identification significantly transform over time for
example, children getting IDs at 16 will look different at 26.
Muhoozi also notes that
NIRA seeks to take advantage of strides in technology that will increase portability
and verification to support global transactions and the exercise will improve
accuracy and credibility of register for planning and improved service
The exercise will see
recruitment of temporary staff to handle several activities. The projected temporary
staff will be 141,252 of village level representing two staff per village.
Every parish will have a supervisor, with on overall coordinator of sub county
level. NIRA District staff are planned to provide overall supervision,
monitoring and reporting of the exercise.
Each applicant who is
renewing shall fill and sign a renewal Form online, which shall be verified against
the existing information in the National identification Register after which a
new card will be printed and issued.