Uganda drops Shs 50,000 charge for renewal of National IDs

Uganda plans to collect, capture DNA data of citizens on new national IDs

Kampala, Uganda | By Michael Wandati | Uganda citizens will not be required to pay Shs 50,000 for the renewal of their National Identity Cards (IDs), except for those opting for express service, as assured by the Minister of State for Internal Affairs, Gen. David Muhoozi, during a statement to the House on the mass renewal of national identity cards.

Despite the allocated Shs 300 billion for the renewal of National IDs process, concerns were raised in Parliament regarding the delayed release of funds to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, hindering activities such as recruitment for the exercise and procurement.

Deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa urged the ministry to initiate the recruitment process while waiting for funds, emphasizing the need to avoid a national crisis in renewing over 15.2 million IDs and enrolling 17 million new IDs by June.

“This is the process where we extract the register for elections, which should be ready by January 2025. You need to renew over 15.2 million IDs and enroll 17 million new IDs by June this year, you need to move fast such that we do not get into a national crisis,” said Deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa.

“You cannot wait for the money to reach your account, you can start on the process of recruitment, then when money comes you just issue recruitment letters,” Tayebwa added.

MP Tonny Ayoo suggested that the National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA) learn from the efficient systems used in the renewal of driving licenses. He called for parliamentary pressure on the Ministry of Finance to urgently release the allocated Shs192 billion for the exercise.

“NIRA has been operating on very dilapidated computers, systems, and perhaps applications, that is why they are providing for express IDs, why can’t they borrow from the process of issuance and renewal of driving licences?,” asked Ayoo.

Legislators, including David Mugole, expressed concerns about previous errors due to late recruitment and urged NIRA to address issues like correcting errors during the mass renewal.

“You could find that the date of birth on the registration form is different from the one on the national ID. For example, they put a wrong date on my father’s ID, although he was 90 years he missed out on the Social Assistance Grant Empowerment,” said Mugole.

Representatives also highlighted the challenges faced by Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) in obtaining IDs and raised questions about Ugandan nationals of Rwandan origin and an indigenous community called the Maragoli, emphasizing the importance of inclusivity.

“They missed out on the last enrolment, government has been promising them to establish a constitutional review commission, for them to be included in the constitution as citizens. They are worried that they will miss again,” Kiryandongo District Woman MP, Helen Kahunde said.

Also Read: Ugandans must provide old national IDs for new ones in mass registration, says NIRA

Minister Muhoozi reiterated the ministry’s commitment to the renewal process, mentioning the procurement of ICT equipment and ongoing training in the new National Security Information System.

“Following the approval of funding, the new National Security Information System-related procurements have also commenced with requests for approval by the National Information Technology Authority – Uganda obtained,” Muhoozi said in his statement.

Plans for hard-to-reach districts include providing standby generators and solar panels to counter power blackouts during the exercise.

“Approximately 2,750 kits with solar panels, will be available in addition to each district having a 5KV generator for the exercise. Each kit will have two connectivity devices and connectivity mapping is ongoing for each parish countrywide,” he said.