Source: Unwanted Witness (Kampala)
What we discovered
In Uganda, the National Identity System has its headquarters in Kololo with over 117 service centres countrywide. Conversely, there are still glaring gaps within the system leading to unnecessary delays in the acquisition of a legal National Identity card.
As of March 2020, NIRA had received 29.3 million applications for the Identification Register, representing roughly 68% of all Ugandan citizens. Of these applicants, 25.0 million had received NINs, had printed only 18.3 million NICs, and 15.2 million individuals had actually received a NIC. This leaves a shortfall of 3.1 million NICs printed but not issued causing backlogs.
NIRA continues to share citizens’ data between Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) without transparent reports to the public. They rarely seek consent from the owners of the data (citizens) because NIRA and the MDAs sign the Memorandum of Understandings “behind curtains.”
Ministries and administrative bodies have moved quickly and aggressively to revise procedures such that only individuals with a valid NIC can access their services or programs. In such situations, written NINs are rarely sufficient for access because digital authentication systems for NICs are still generally unavailable.
Public service providers requiring a NIC as a proof of identity only request to see the physical ID but they do not scan the card. This details on how much the system is still manual.
The insufficiency in data integration equipment and the exhaustion resulting delays in ID issuance justifies why the mandatory use of NIC to access services should be suspended. Since the establishment of NIRA in 2016, minimum efforts have been undertaken to improve the system efficiency