By Mark Kawalya
A new round of identity card registration exercises for Ugandans will commence in June next year organised by the National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA). The current national IDs will expire in 2024, with the new IDs set to have new features but retain the current bio data that was previously captured, including the national identification number (NIN). Although the cards will be issued out at no charge, individuals seeking express processing will pay a fee for the faster turnaround time.
General Kahinda Otafiire, the Internal Affairs Minister, revealed details of the new identification plans for all Ugandans as he addressed journalists at the Media Center. This is a few hours after NIRA refuted claims that the cabinet had decided to scrap all current IDs.
The minister further explained that the current National IDs have a ten-year life span. He added that the IDs Uganda will adopt will be more user-friendly due to the use of better technology. Otafiire adds that although the IDs will have new features, they will not need to have the existing NINs changed.
“Your NIN does not cease. The bio-data that was captured does not change. We shall only improve the variables captured on your ID,” he told the press.
“We are doing our level best to make sure that every Ugandan is registered and given his identity and every child who is born is registered and given a national identification number and also given a means of identity,” Otafiire added.
Kahinda said his ministry will ensure that NIRA officials reach every Ugandan parish so that Ugandans are not burdened with having to travel long distances to sign up for the new IDs.
IDs play a crucial role in Uganda as they are a requirement for registering SIM cards, obtaining travel documents, getting a bank account, voting and signing up for the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) for individuals seeking employment.
To sign up for a national ID, one is required to produce a medical birth certificate, a citizen card indicating that they are Ugandans by birth, and provide information about their biological parents and ancestry, along with their original area of residence.
Ugandans that have existing IDs will only have them updated while those that don’t have IDs will run the course of signing up for the form of identification with registration starting in 2023 with the new digital National IDs issued in 2024.