The National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA) has resumed the issuance of national identity cards after being closed for over three months over the deadly Coronavirus pandemic.
NIRA and the directorate of citizenship and immigration in March suspended businesses to avoid the spread of the virus and the move saw a number of people who were supposed to pick their national IDs and passports affected.
However, according to Gilbert Kadilo, NIRA’s manager in charge of Public Relations and Corporate Affairs, they plan to gradually resume operations and provide services to members of the public in a phased manner.
“As part of the first phase of the process to reopen services, NIRA has commenced a National ID card issuance exercise in the three districts of Wakiso, Mukono and Jinja,”Kadilo said.
He explained that the exercise that commenced on Monday, July ,6, 2020 will be done at the sub-county level and will run for a period of 17 days in Wakiso and 13 days in Jinja and Mukono.
“The above-mentioned districts have the highest number of unissued National ID cards and their issuance will help decongest those areas ahead of the planned full resumption of services.”
The publicist noted that lists of people whose cards are ready for issuance have been shared with their LC 1 chairpersons to avoid congestion at the various issuance centres at the various sub-county headquarters.
“Every client visiting the issuance centres is encouraged to observe the Ministry of Health of Health guidelines to curb the spread of Coronavirus including wearing of a facemask, observing social distance and washing hands with soap and sanitizing.”
According to Kadilo, arrangements are underway to resume normal services to the public in other parts of the country.
The State Minister for Internal Affairs Obiga Kania early this year told parliament that at least 16.8 million Ugandans age 16 and above have not yet got their national IDs.
The minister attributed the big number of people without national IDs to the increased demand for the documents.
“With the national ID gaining currency as a key document to accessing critical services, the demand for services has grown exponentially,”Kania told parliament in March.
Government in 2014 started the mass registration of Ugandans under the National Security Information System (NSIS) before the issuance of national identity cards.
However, many Ugandans missed out on getting national IDs because they never registered for them, whereas others delayed on being returned.
However, there was a surge in the number of people at the NIRA headquarters as many Ugandans rushed to register for the IDs after it was made compulsory to have a national identity card before seeking a number of government services throughout the country.