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Parliament Extends SIM Card Registration to not more than One Year

Winnie Kizza on the floor of the house

In a heated debate, look Parliament has Thursday resolved to extend the deadline for the registration, check verification and validation exercise of Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards in Uganda.

According to a directive by Government through the Prime Minister, link all unregistered Sim cards by the use of the National Identity Card are to be deactivated by May 19, 2017.

Members unanimously agreed to have the deadline extended in a motion that was tabled by the Leader of Opposition in Parliament (LOP), Winnie Kizza seconded by the Shadow Attorney General, Wilfred Niwagaba, Manjiya County MP, John Baptist Nambeshe and Mukono County South legislator, Johnson Muyanja Ssenyonga.

While moving the motion, the LOP cited a number of flaws in setting up the deadline for the sim card registration exercise that is supposed to end tomorrow.

“Regulation 7(2) and (3) of the Regulation of interception of Communications Instrument No. 42 of 2011 provides that valid identification documents may include national identity card, work permit, passport, driving license, student identity card, certificate of incorporation and voter’s card yet in this case all other valid documents have been neglected,” Kiiza noted.

She added that there is no law prohibiting persons below 18 years  from acquiring and using mobile phone yet the National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA) only issues cards to citizens aged 18 years and above.

Members argued that NIRA has no capacity to register all Ugandans since it has constrained staffing as indicated in the Ministerial Policy Statement for Internal Affairs FY 2017/18 which raises a risk of hindering the verification and validation process of sim cards.

Kiiza thus called upon parliament to resolve urging Uganda Communications Commission to further extend the verification and validation exercise of SIM cards.

“Urge UCC to direct telecommunication companies to deactivate SIM card applications in a phased manner; the Minister responsible for Information, Communication and Technology presents to Parliament a comprehensive status report on the SIM card registration, verification and validation exercise.”

The Leader of Government Business in Parliament, Ruth Nankabirwa welcomed the proposal but advised members to leave setting the deadline to government.

“I want to suggest that we pass the principle of extension, government goes, sits with concerned people, presents what all Members of Parliament have presented and then suggests a period which will make sure that people have registered,” Nankabirwa said.

However, the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga put it to members to suggest a deadline which should be issued as the Parliament position.

“Members, all these things were done without government first consulting us; the proposal is that the extension is extended to not more than one year,” the Speaker concluded

 

 

 

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