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Gov’t Insists On Deactivating SIM Cards By August 30

Minister Henry Tumukunde and Jeje Odongo appearing before the ICT Committee of Parliament on Thursday

Government announced today that it is maintaining the set deadline for SIM card registration which is August 30.

The government position was communicated by the Minister of Security, Gen. Henry Tumukunde who was leading an inter-ministerial and agencies delegation to the parliamentary committee on ICT.

Tumukunde told MPs that the decision was reached after consultations headed by the Prime Minister, Dr Ruhakana Rugunda with other government Ministries and agencies, as well as industry players.

“In accordance with the Law, the Presidential Directive on the matter and with consultation with the Telecom sector regulator and the National Identity Regulator, with guidance from the Prime Minister in consultation with the Minister for Internal Affairs and the Minister for ICT and National Guidance it is our position that the 30th August 2017 deadline holds and won’t be postponed,” said Gen. Henry Tumukunde.

Tumukunde said government put into consideration the advancement in technology which has brought with it new challenges especially crime (both organized and petty) and easier facilitation for terrorist activities.

With the high penetration of telecommunication services in Uganda, the minister said, Security of Citizens and property must be guaranteed.

“Registration of SIM cards is one step in bringing security to a fast-growing sector of our economy to give our security organs the ability to pin point criminals that use these for malicious gain and to track down agents that want to cause us harm. This is a key measure that’s being implemented worldwide.”

“We are happy to report that we are over 98% complete with the exercise and I encourage those that have not verified their SIM Cards to do so before the deadline of 30th August 2017.”

The Minister however, clarified that the Prime Minister will have the final say on shutting down the sim cards.

“At my level that’s how the rule stands but if the Prime Minister pronounces otherwise, I hope It will be understood.”

He also revealed that mechanisms have been put in place to ensure that any airtime and data bundle on a deactivated SIM card will be noted and returned to the SIM upon reactivation.

Subscribers with deactivated SIM cards will be allowed to withdraw or send mobile money but not to deposit; in a grace period that will be communicated.

Registration will continue while foreigners will continue to register their SIM cards using Passports or Alien Cards while refugees are able to register their SIMs using their valid refugee cards issued by the Office of the Prime Minister.

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