12:46 pm - Friday September 19, 2014

Defence, Internal Affairs Lock Horns Over Shs200b ID Project

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This came to light on Saturday, with the Internal Affairs State minister James Baba rubbishing media reports that Defence has taken over the contract.

“As coordinating Ministry implementing the ID Project, we are not aware of the allegation that Ministry of Defense has taken over the ID Project as reported in the New Vision of 1st February 2013,” said Baba in a media statement dated February 2.

The newspaper quoted army spokesperson Col Felix Kulayigye as saying the Ministry of Defence has taken over the franchise.

“We shall capture data of every individual countrywide and make for them IDs. We introduced the Integrated Resource Management System under which we shall capture data,” Kulayigye told New Vision.

Asked when the processing of IDs is expected to start, Kulayigye said they were waiting for a legal instrument that will allow the internal affairs ministry to hand over the work to the defence ministry.

Kulayigye, who said the cost of the project would remain the same (sh230b), noted that the German firm (Muhlbauer Technology), which was contracted to do the work, had its contract still running.

However, Baba says “The Ministry of Internal Affairs is still spearheading policy and technical implementation of this project.”

Baba maintained: “We are utilizing technical support from key stakeholders like Electoral Commission, National Information Technology Authority, and Uganda People Defense Forces among others.”

The conflicting statements from both Ministries are indicative of a possible clash of interests that could have led to the stalling of the project.

Despite hiring Muhlbauer Technology on March 19, 2010 at sh230.9b to supply technology and other related services to the National Security Information System to produce IDs, the project has come to a standstill with only 400 IDs released.

Baba says government is committed to execute the National Identification Project in accordance with the law.

“The project is back on course and we are committed to delivering its planned objectives of issuing National Identity cards to all eligible Uganda citizens and also to be in time for the 2016 general elections,” he elaborated.

“Currently, an interim Personalization and Data Processing Centre has been set up in Entebbe. The general public is hereby informed that National Identity card production using the 5.2 data sets captured by Electoral Commission during the 2010 Voter Register update exercise, started on 28th January 2013 under the leadership of officials from the Directorate of Citizenship and Immigration Control,” said Baba.

He said by April 15, Uganda will have set up an ID card delivery centre in Kampala for the five million cards currently being produced.

By the end of November 2013, the Minister explained, the Ministry will have refurbished and set up a complete Personalization and Data Processing Centre and the security system shall immediately be installed, tested and commissioned.

“By 1st January 2014, the Minister for Internal Affairs will announce ID card registration centres and immediately embark on citizen’s registration and by December 2015, all eligible Uganda Citizens of voting age (18yrs) and above throughout the country shall have been issued with national identification cards and numbers,” he added.

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