State minister for Investment and Privatisation, Evelyn Anite, says Ugandans will have no choice but to buy Uganda Telecom sim cards on top national Identity Cards.
The minister was speaking at the Uganda Telecom staff blood donation drive held at the Constitutional Square in Kampala on Monday where she emphasised that it would become mandatory for Ugandans to own “a Ugandan [UTL] line”.
The minister’s remarks which have already raised dust on social media come at a time Ugandans are trying to verify their sim cards to avoid disconnection and also acquire national IDs.
The sim card hullabaloo brought the executive and legislature into loggerheads when ICT minister, Frank Tumwebaze, disrespected a motion passed by Parliament Speaker, Rebecca Kadaga.
As if registering for IDs and lining up in long queues was not sad enough, now the government will force every phone user to buy UTL lines which are used by government agencies and departments.
The old telecom company is already embroidered in management conflicts and a debt of nearly a trillion shillings, which saw it being placed under administration.
The administrator of UTL, also the registrar-general of Uganda Registration Services Bureau, Twebaze Bemanya, told Uganda Radio Network [URN] the situation at UTL has improved significantly.
According to Anite, having a UTL mobile phone line will be a show of patriotism and pride for Ugandans and that it would be a mandatory requirement for every Ugandan.
“It did not take us to get somebody from another country to come and fix what is [problems] in UTL. We’re not yet done but we are close by…I want to tell you something; that once we fix the problems in Utl, it is going to be compulsory for Ugandans to hold a UTL line just as it is for you to have a national ID, you must have a Ugandan line. That is the spirit of patriotism,” Anite is quoted by URN as saying.
She went on: “I want to thank you the staff of UTL, for holding UTL at the time when everyone thought that UTL was going down. You gave me strength, everyone was saying UTL is part of history. I was struggling with some people until we got the administrator.”
Anite said the administrator told her that young people who value their country, know Uganda Telecom is the communication line that should be used by Ugandans.