By Frank Kamuntu
Kampala: Government has revealed that Uganda Security Printing Company (USPC) has requested for more time to prepare for handling and issuing of driving permits from Face Technologies until March 1 2021, hence the extension of the contract for Face Technologies to continue issuing driving permits.
In a statement released by Ministry of Works and Transport, all its regional driving permits issuance offices at Jinja, Mbale Gulu, Arua, Fort Portal and Mbarara will be closed to the public from December, until further notice to allow the incoming service provider, Uganda Security Printing Company (USPC) to remodel the facilities in preparation for take-over.
USPC, in partnership with German firm Varidos which is producing electronic passports, were to start production and issuance of the driving permits on December 1, according to the Ministry of Works and Transport, at a refurbished block at the Uganda Railways Corporation headquarters.
Addressing journalists at Parliament yesterday, Katumba said Government’s contract with Face Technologies was to expire on May 30th, 2020. However, due to the lockdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the new service provider (USPC) could not be ready in time.
“Subsequently, the contract for Face Technologies was extended by another 6 months up to 30th November 2020. The service provider was still not ready to implement on 1st December due to the persisting travel restrictions especially in Europe where most of the equipment to be used on the project will be coming from,” Katumba said, adding: “Several other project activities like system testing (both Factory Acceptance and On-Site Acceptance Tests) were also highly affected by global travel restrictions.”
Whereas Face Technologies is a private South African company, Uganda Security Printing Company, is a Government-owned company (51% owned by GoU) and is charged with printing all secure documents for the country & the driving license is one of those documents.
“We have requested Face Technologies to proceed with the issuance of driving licenses until 28th February 2021 when USPC will then take over,” Katumba said, adding: “This was meant to fill the gap that was going to be created between now and 1st March 2021 when USPC hopes to be ready to start operations.”
While handing over the contract to USPC last Thursday, the Permanent Secretary Waiswa Bageya hailed the new company’s product samples for their high standards, which the company vowed to maintain to improve service delivery.