MPs want Govt to give Ugandans National IDs for free

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Hon Flavia Kabahenda speaking during an event recently; Courtesy Photo

By Mary Asujo

MPs on Uganda parliamentary forum on social protection, want government to scrap the current Shs 50,000 and the newly proposed Shs 200,000 from vulnerable Ugandans especially during the process of replacing and correcting the National Identity Cards.

The call was made by the Chairperson of Uganda Parliamentary Forum on social protection, Hon. Flavia Kabahenda during a press conference at parliament.

Uganda will celebrate the international day of Older Persons in Nebbi District on 1st October under the theme “Resilience for Older persons to cope in the Changing World”. The chief guest is expected to be his Excellency President Museveni.

Kabahenda commended people who live with older persons saying that Uganda is fortunate to have them because they not only inspire us but also encourage and warn us against dangers.

“To enable them live a full life. Old is wisdom, let’s respect and advocate for them because they account for a bigger population. Today, we want to build the resilience of older persons by ensuring that they live a full life,” said Kabahenda.

According to Kabahenda, one key challenge is the lengthy processing time for IDs. Project beneficiaries report delays in getting the cards after registration. The waiting time ranges from 6 months to 3 years, with no feedback.

“Additionally, the fees attached to correction of particulars and renewable are affordable. The challenge will be further exacerbated by the ministry of Internal Affairs proposed increment of fess from Shs 50,000 to 200,000 for correction of errors and replacement of lost IDs.

The Hon. Kabahenda the woman MP, Kyegegwa district explained that waiving the cost of correcting errors on national IDs for vulnerable populations will promote inclusion. This can be realized through an amendment of the Registration Act by introducing special consideration for the most vulnerable individuals in society.

Kumi Municipality MP, Silas Aogon said that it’s a right for Ugandans to have a national identity cards and government should give them out free of charge.

“IDs should be free most Ugandans can’t afford even the Shs 50,000. The issue of correcting errors should not attract any fees because the duty of NIRA to ensure the information recorded is correct,” noted Aogon.

Kigulu County Milton Muwuma said it’s tedious for an older person to move to Kololo ceremonial grounds to replace and correct their Ids because most of them can’t afford.

“As a forum, we propose that government builds a permanent home for NIRA to ease the smooth running of the services to the people because Kololo is inaccessible to majority of Ugandans and vulnerable people,” Muwuma said.

Muwuma urged government to establish a permanent home for NIRA because Kololo ceremonial ground is no longer accessible to the public since it’s always hosting several events.

The former Adjumani woman MP, Margaret Babadiri told the meeting that National IDs are very vital to social protection programmes as they provide unique identifiers that ease targeting, beneficiary tracking, and service delivery. However, for them to fully support social protection systems, they must be inclusive.

The legislators want government to design NID systems that are user- centered. Co-design process including co-creations and consultations of end-users can help to make the system to make it more user friendly.

They further propose that government scale-up birth and death registration. Birth registration is one way to ensure that children are assigned NINs and can easily access the national ID at the eligible age. Scaling up and sustaining birth registration can be realized through support of all relevant actors including government and non-government actors.

Furthermore, the Shs 5,000 fee attached to birth and death registration should be subsidized by government to accommodate the very vulnerable.

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