Members of Parliament sitting on the parliamentary Defence and Internal Affairs Committee, have asked the government to extend to them at least Shs 28bn for the issuance of e-passports.
A committee report quoted by Uganda Radio Network [URN], says at least Shs 28bn is needed for setting up the initial infrastructure for the production of e-passports.
The committee report tabled before parliament by the chairperson, Judith Nabakooba, says full implementation of the project requires $100 million, which is unfunded in the 2017/2018 financial year budget.
The issuance of e-passport by the National Citizen and Immigration Control was planned to start by January 2017 but the project failed to take off due to lack of funds.
Six Heads of the East African Community (EAC) partner states launched the new e-passports during the 17th Ordinary Summit meeting.
They directed partner states to commence issuance of e-passports by January 2017 with a view of phasing out the old passports by December 2018.
“Implementation of e-passport will save government annual expenditure on purchase of empty passport booklets and associated wear and tear of printing machines deployed internally and externally,” the report said.
According to Nabakooba, government was also considering negotiating a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement as an alternative to outright financing but this has taken long despite the presence of a legal framework on PPP.
The committee now wants government through the finance ministry to provide Shs28bn in the 2017/2018 financial year to kick-start the process of issuance of e-passports.
The e-passport comes with an electric chip that contains the owner’s facial features, fingerprints and others.
It is expected to speed up the process and save East Africans the inconvenience of filling in entry and exit forms at the EAC boarders.
The electronic passports are expected to cost just as much as the old passports.