By Francis Lubega
Parliament has resolved to extend the deadline for the registration, verification and validation exercise of Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards in Uganda to more than one year.Ministerfor Internal Affairs, Ruhakana Rugunda reading the extend of the Amneste Law to the rebles by the government during the Weekly Press conference at the ministry of information on 22nd Jan. 2004.
Photo by PETER BUSOMOKE
According to a directive by Government through the Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda, all unregistered Sim cards by the use of the National Identity Card are to be deactivated by May 19this this year.
Members unanimously agreed to have the deadline extended in a motion that was tabled by the Leader of Opposition in Parliament (LOP), Winnie Kizza seconded by the Shadow Attorney General, Wilfred Niwagaba, Manjiya County MP, John Baptist Nambeshe and Mukono County South legislator, Johnson Muyanja Ssenyonga.
While moving the motion, the LOP cited a number of flaws in setting up the deadline for the sim card registration exercise that is supposed to end tomorrow.
She added that there is no law prohibiting persons below 18 years from acquiring and using mobile phone yet the National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA) only issues cards to citizens aged 18 years and above.
Members argued that NIRA has no capacity to register all Ugandans since it has constrained staffing as indicated in the Ministerial Policy Statement for Internal Affairs FY 2017/18 which raises a risk of hindering the verification and validation process of sim cards.
Kiiza thus called upon parliament to resolve urging Uganda Communications Commission to further extend the verification and validation exercise of SIM cards.
The Leader of Government Business in Parliament, Ruth Nankabirwa welcomed the proposal but advised members to leave setting the deadline to government.
However, the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga put it to members to suggest a deadline which should be issued as the Parliament position.
Earlier, High court dismissed an application filed by Norman Tumuhimbise of the Jobless Brotherhood and Trumpet Uganda Limited, seeking an injunction to stay the cutoff of unregistered sim cards until determination of the main case that challenges the move.
In his ruling, the head of civil division of High Court, Justice Stephen Musota said he could not entertain an application that was over taken by events, considering that government gave citizens 30 more days to complete the registration which the applicants wanted.