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30th August Deadline Stands – Rugunda

Ruhakana Rugunda

Government will switch off all unregistered and unverified SIM Cards by August 30.

This is government’s final position after several consultations with the relevant stakeholders including the Telecom operators, Ministries and government agencies.

Yesterday the Minister of Security, Gen. Henry Tumukunde told Members of Parliament sitting on the ICT committee that they were to hold an inter-ministerial and inter-agencies meeting with telecom operators chaired by the Prime Minister to come up with a final position.

The meeting was attended by senior officials from National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA), Uganda Communication Commission (UCC) and the National Information Technology Authority (NITA), each of the seven mobile network operators in Uganda, and Members of Parliament representing different but relevant Committees.

The Prime Minister, Ruhakana Rugunda told journalists at his office that approximately 98 percent of active SIM cards in Uganda are compliant to the requirements of the current SIM validation and verification exercise.

“The deadline for deactivating all unregistered, unverified and unvalidated SIM cards as directed by H.E. President Yoweri Museveni, and in accordance with the law, will be enforced come midnight 30th August 2017,” Rugunda said.

The process of SIM card registration and verification is to implement provisions of the law as contained in the Regulation of Interception of Communications Act 2010 and the Registration of Persons Act 2015 which makes it mandatory for everyone in Uganda to register their SIM card using National Identity Numbers (NIN) if Ugandan, Passport if foreigner, alien IDs if visiting for more than 90 days and valid identification documents for refugees issued by the Prime Minister’s office.

Rugunda said that government will establish a high level technical committee with representatives from Mobile Network Operators, NIRA, NITA, UCC and Ministry of Security with the full and unequivocal backing of the political leadership to ensure the seamless implementation and enforcement of the 30th August 2017 deadline.

“Persons, who at the coming into effect of this deadline, will not have complied, but still have positive balances on their Mobile Money accounts, will have a limited window to ONLY withdraw their money,” Rugunda said.

He said however, that NIRA will, after the deadline continue to register and issue National IDs and verify the NINs of those who apply to have their SIM cards registered and verified.

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