Government is set to undertake mass renewal and enrollment exercise of the National Identity Cards for all citizens of Uganda beginning next year, Parliament has learnt.
According to the Minister of State for Internal Affairs, Gen. David Muhoozi, the National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA) will start the exercise for renewal of the National IDs as well as registration new people in January 2023.
Muhoozi made the revelation while responding to a query raised by Wakiso District Woman Representative, Betty Naluyima on the impending expiry of National IDs.
The Minister told the House that the exercise will commence at the beginning of January 2023 and is expected to cost Sh430b.
Validity of the national identification card, according to Regulation 19(1) of the Registration of Persons Regulations states that a national identification card shall be valid for ten years from the date of issuance and shall be renewable in accordance with the set Regulations.
Muhoozi said the first batch of national IDs totaling to 15.8 million were printed and issued in 2014/2015 and are expected to expire between August 2024 and June 2025 which to him justifies the need for renewal.
He attributed the requirement for renewal after 10 years to the durability of the material used to make the identification cards.
“The security features on the Polycarbonate (PC) material used to make ID cards deteriorates progressively and is severely compromised after 10 years,” said Muhoozi.
On 27th April 2022, social media was awash with news on the cost of the national ID renewal.
Nakaseke South MP, Luttamaguzi Ssemakula had raised a matter of national importance in Parliament about the increased cost of national IDS from Sh50, 000 to Sh500, 000 and called for revision of the figure given the difficult economic times.
Naluyima was also concerned that Ugandans who received IDs at the start of the NIRA program in 2014/15 were expiring on 2nd December 2024 and wondered what Government’s plan is for them especially since the average Ugandan can’t afford the fees.
Muhoozi was asked to brief Parliament on the matter which he did yesterday in a plenary session chaired by the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Thomas Tayebwa.
While responding to the members’ concerns, he assured the House that the exercise will be free for Ugandans and that they should disregard any speculations that they will be charged for renewal of national ID cards.
Reacting to the Minister’s statement, some members rose to ask the Minister what government plans to do for those that don’t have IDs and therefore can’t access some services even after they applied for them.
Kiruhura district woman MP, Jovanice Rwenduru expressed concern that University students seeking for Government loan scheme in this financial year are being rejected because they don’t have National IDs. She said the students registered 3yrs ago but have never received their IDs.
Rukungiri Woman MP, Medius Natukunda asked the Minister to explain why students who registered for National IDs 3 years ago haven’t received their IDs. He said the students are being told to register again because their information is no longer available.
She asked the Minister to come clearly and explain what these students should do because there is confusion and many don’t have National IDs.
Muhoozi in response to the members said he would consult with NIRA on the matter because there are many uncollected cards at NIRA. He said most students were registered while they were still in school and the cards were generated and dispersed To various locations.
He told the House the Ministry will take it upon themselves to ensure that the cards are made available for the students,