Funding Shortfall Threatens National ID Renewal, Raises Concerns Over Foreigners Acquiring IDs

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Uganda’s National Identification and Registration Authority (NIIRA) is facing a severe funding challenge, jeopardizing the planned mass renewal and issuance of National Identification Cards (IDs) for the 2026 general elections. NIIRA had requested UGX 666.8 billion to facilitate the processing and printing of IDs for 17.2 million individuals and the renewal of 15.8 million identification cards. The lack of these funds may impact the timely rollout of the project.

NIIRA officials, led by the Executive Director Rosemary Kisembo, appeared before the Defense Committee of Parliament to provide an update on the status of the mass enrollment and renewal of National ID cards. During the session, Kisembo revealed that the slow response from the government to provide the required UGX 666.8 billion has hindered the commencement of the mass enrollment process. The allocated funds were intended to cover the recruitment of enrollment officers and data processors, procurement of equipment and the National Security Information System (NSIS), acquisition of specialized printed stationery, and system customization, among other expenses.

Committee members expressed their concerns over the issuance of National IDs while plans are underway to phase out old identification cards and replace them with digitalized ID cards. The perceived lack of synchronization between the existing and upcoming ID systems raised questions about the efficiency and security of the identification process.

Another critical issue that drew the committee’s attention was the misuse and potential abuse of National identification cards by foreigners. There have been reports of non-Ugandans obtaining these IDs, which poses a significant risk to the nation’s security and the integrity of the electoral process.

A majority of the current National IDs are set to expire in 2024.

 

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