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Government to register Ugandans abroad for national IDs

Man Jose Kayima 

Minister of State for Internal Affairs, David Muhoozi, has announced that the National Registration and Identification Authority (NIRA) will conduct registration for National IDs for Ugandans residing abroad during the upcoming mass enrollment exercise.

Muhoozi made this statement while addressing inquiries from Members of Parliament regarding the government’s readiness for the mass enrollment initiative, scheduled to commence in June 2024.

“The new system incorporates online pre-registration and registration at embassies. NIRA will conduct outreach programs in selected countries with Ugandan populations exceeding 10,000,” he explained.

Muhoozi clarified that passports are primarily travel documents and cannot serve as identification substitutes. He underscored that possession of a national ID is a prerequisite for obtaining a passport.

“Individuals with valid IDs will not be mandated to obtain new ones during the mass enrollment process. Renewals will be facilitated upon request, with all necessary arrangements in place,” he assured. Muhoozi also noted that individuals below the age of 16 will receive National Identification Numbers (NINs) without physical ID cards, ensuring continuous enrollment for this demographic.

Regarding the issuance process, Muhoozi highlighted the complexities involved in verifying citizenship, necessitating a thorough review before National IDs can be issued.

“While driving permits are issued instantly, the verification of citizenship complicates the ID issuance process, requiring meticulous scrutiny of familial ties and lineage,” he elaborated.

Additionally, Muhoozi confirmed that individuals of Rwandan origin, as recognized by the 1995 constitution, are eligible to obtain national IDs. He also assured that Muslim women would be permitted to wear head coverings by international guidelines during the mass enrollment exercise.

The Minister defended the ongoing upgrades to National IDs, citing the importance of updating biometric features such as facial recognition and fingerprints to enhance identification accuracy and security.

Muhoozi urged the Uganda Microfinance Regulatory Authority to prohibit money lenders from demanding National IDs as collateral. He emphasized the need for stringent measures to address this issue, encouraging citizens to report any unlawful practices to the authorities.

“The regulatory body must take action against lenders who unlawfully retain IDs. Citizens should refrain from allowing such abuses by reporting such incidents to the authorities,” he emphasised.

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