Travel permits applicants overwhelm Transport Ministry

Travel permits applicants overwhelm Transport Ministry
One of police check points mounted in Kampala

Kampala, Uganda | URN | The high volume of applications for travel permits has overwhelmed the Ministry of Works and Transport.

While announcing the second lockdown last week, President Yoweri Museveni tasked the Ministry of Works and Transport to process and issue travel permits to essential workers within the Kampala Metropolitan Area.

Bageya Waiswa, the Ministry of Works Permanent Secretary says that they have received a huge number of applications ever since they opened the application system, which has caused delays in the issuance of the permits. He is however confident that by Sunday 27th, June 2021, they will have cleared the available applications.

He says that in the meantime, the essential workers will be allowed to use their official identity cards on specific routes to ensure that those allowed to drive are either from their homes to their workplace or vice versa.

Bageya notes that as one of the means to increase their efficiency, they have decided that all applications come through professional associations or line Ministries and departments rather than being filed as individuals.

For instance, the Permanent Secretary says that they have directed all essential workers in the health sector to channel their applications through the Ministry of Health while media practitioners have to do so through Uganda Media Center.

“I think this will save our time but also eliminate fraud. The associations, professional bodies, or line ministries will first verify whether the names are valid. Several individuals have applied to the system yet they are not essential,” said Bageya.

While appearing on NBS television on Tuesday 22nd morning, Winston Katushabe, the commissioner in charge of Transport Regulation and Safety noted that they were able to process 962 travel permit applications on the first day.

Katushabe said that with the huge number of applicants for the travel permits, they have decided to give first priority to health workers.

Katushabe says that they have also established a simple cross checking mechanism where anyone including police officers can use the short message service to verify whether the vehicle is cleared to be on the road or not. All one needs to do is to send the Vehicle Number Plate to 6120.

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“Regardless of the telecommunication company you are using, you will be given a reply showing that the car is cleared or not. The reply will be coming with the names of a person who is supposed to be in that vehicle,” the commissioner said.

He said the clearance for several groups of people, besides health workers, would be valid for only two weeks to enable rotation of staff as directed by the president.

Although people who wish to travel outside Kampala Metropolitan Area for different emergencies like burials were also told to send applications to the Works Ministry, the spokesperson Suzan Kataike says such persons can in the meantime use permits issued by Resident City Commissioners and LC I chairpersons.