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MPs decry delays in issuance of national IDs

FILE PHOTO: NIRA issuance of national IDs

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Government has been urged to revise its approach in the issuance of National Identity Cards. A number of legislators have observed that the process is cumbersome and subjecting Ugandans to untold suffering.

Several MPs also observed that they had spent more than a year trying to process national IDs in vain. The MPs demanded that the issuance of identity cards be extended to the lowest local Governments, get rid of middlemen who broker ID replacements and issuance.

Ntenjeru South MP Fred Baseke told parliament that he has attempted to replace his lost ID for the last eight months, moving to NIRA offices almost on a weekly basis, only to end up with untold frustration. He said the system needs to be streamlined to ensure that a replacement can be instant, with the presentation of a National Identification Number.

Kabale Municipality MP Andrew Aja Baryayanga also narrated how he spent close to six months struggling to secure an ID, even after paying all the dues and meeting all the requirements.

Lira Woman MP Joy Otim Ongom said a number of Ugandans were living in agony because they cannot get access to certain services in the absence of a national ID, yet many have waited for years to have their cards printed and issued.

But State Minister for Internal Affairs Mario Obiga Kania attributed the delays to funding challenges and a human resource gap at the National Identification Regulatory Authority-NIRA. He says that the authority has registered an unprecedented demand for replacement of National IDs, with current applications now standing at 120,000.

He is however optimistic that the creation of regional registration Centre’s will solve the problem of long queues at the central office in Kololo and the amount of time that taken to secure an ID.

During the same discussion, Bugiri Municipality MP Asuman Basalirwa faulted the government for charging Ugandans for errors that were made by the NIRA teams during the time of enrollment.

Although the cards are issued at no cost at the start, NIRA charges up to 50,000 Shillings to replace a lost ID. However, there is no specific time within which the card can be replaced.

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