Parliament extends sim card registration for a year

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The Parliament of Uganda has Thursday passed a motion extending the registration of Sim Cards by not more than one year.

The motion which is already being celebrated by majority Ugandans, was tabled by the Leader of Opposition in Parliament, Hon Winnie Kiiza.

“Even as we are here, MTN Uganda has switched off some people’s phones,” Kiiza told plenary presided over by Speaker Rebecca Kadaga.

She asked legislators to remember that the registration for National IDs was first intended for persons of voting age.

“We still need time to explain to our grandmothers and grandfathers what is going on.”

She said there are countries that have successfully carried out sim registration but proposed the extension for Uganda to be made for a year so that it is done concurrently with the registration of learners.

Kiiza was supported by the MP for Ndorwa East, Hon Wilfred Niwagaba, who said it is good for the Ministry in charge of communication to bring in force a Data Protection law to help citizens.

“There are people who registered for National ID, but for reasons beyond their control, they did not get them back,” Niwagaba said.

He said since most of the people have mobile money contributions in their Mobile Money, the deadline for disconnection would be most fatal.

Hon Janepher Nantume Egunyu, the NRM Women’s Representative for Buvuma District said considering that registration of people below 18 and above 5 years is ongoing, she supports extension but not for a year.

“Extension for a year is too long. This is why Uganda is weak in implementing laws.”

Speaker Rebecca Kadaga said the condition that would apply is that National Identification and Registration Authority [NIRA] avails Ugandans with the information they captured.

“When these people were registering us, they found us in our villages. The machines are still available and can be used,” Kadaga noted.

Kadaga said government is not aware that people don’t have their ID cards. “I would want NIRA to feature in the resolution.”

Hon Jacob Oboth-Oboth from West Budama said it was clear from the debate that the issue is how long the extension should be.

“My wife has been trying to register for weeks but it is not successful. Now having a wife who is not registered…,” he told plenary.

He added: “Having a motion being brought by the LOP should be supported by all the members.”

Hon Rosemary Nankabirwa, the Government Chief Whip, then asked the house to pass the motion, and let government come up with the date for ending it.

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