Kampala: The National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA) is introducing electronic national identity cards to replace the current IDs by the year 2024.
This was confirmed by the Minister for Internal Affairs, Gen Jeje Odong during a function where the new NIRA Executive Director, Rosemary Kisembo assumed office on Friday.
While making the announcement Odong noted the move is already in the pipeline and further urged Kisembo to ensure it is realized by the year 2024.
“We expect a new and enhanced identity card by 2024. The journey has already begun but we would like you to grab the bull by the horns so that by 2024 we have a new card with an electronic chip and other new features,” Odong said at a function held at the NIRA headquarters in Kololo.
“We want an enhanced national ID that will enable people to move to other countries easily but also enable them to transact business.”
Speaking on the sidelines of the function, the Internal Affairs Minister said the new ID will have new readable features.
“The new ID that we envisage in 2024 will have enhanced features and most likely we will have it digitalized so we will be able to hold more data on that same facility (ID). It will be more a little robust than we have now,” Gen Jeje Odong said.
Asked whether the electronic ID will have an expiry date, the Internal Affairs Minister said the government is yet to decide on the same.
“We will determine whether that will be a necessary requirement for the new identity card but as we speak now we have not yet determined whether it will have an expiry date.”
In 2015, after setting up of the National Identification and Registrations Authority (NIRA),government started mass registration of citizens for issuance of the national Identity Cards..
Whereas having a national ID is mandatory to be able to get most government services, a smaller number of the population has been issued with the documents, a failure that NIRA has attributed to a number of challenges including lack of adequate staff and funds.
Speaking on Friday, the Internal Affairs Minister tasked the new NIRA Executive Director to ensure all Ugandans are registered but also getting cards since it is their right.
In her acceptance speech, the new NIRA boss, Rosemary Kisembo said she is ready to cause tectonic changes at the institution.
“I, therefore, envision simplifying the registration processes and forms to ensure all Ugandans are registered. We will collaborate with the Ministry of Health so that health facilities become places of registration for all the newborn babies,” Kisembo said.
She noted that this way, data from the health ministry would help reduce the burden by NIRA to register Ugandans.
According to Kisembo, she envisions the use of data from other organizations and entities to ensure all Ugandans are registered.
She revealed that NIRA would rather spend more time organizing data got from other entities about Ugandans than spending a lot of time registering Ugandans which she said is very costly and time-consuming.
“I envision automating and making readily available, secure online processes for all registration functions to improve service delivery. I will also ensure the acquisition of appropriate technologies for a secure card with biometric features but also decentralize and make available selected electronic NIRA services at sub-county and parish levels all over the country,” she noted.