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Uganda to begin nationwide distribution of biometric ID cards to citizens

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The National Identification Registration Authority of Uganda (NIRA)says it will begin a nationwide process on 23 November to distribute digital ID cards to some of its citizens who have successfully applied for the document and enrolled their biometrics but are yet to pick them up after production.

NIRA is the body in charge of managing official personal identity issues in Uganda and is at the forefront of the country’s efforts toward establishing a digital identity backed by fingerprint biometrics for all Ugandans.

In a series of recent tweets on its official Twitter page, NIRA told Ugandans to be prepared for the process that is scheduled to take place for 15 days beginning 23 November at Sub-County level in all of the country’s 111 districts. The exercise is expected to end on 7 December, according to NIRA.

NIRA added that in order for the process to be smooth and effective, it will put a list at the disposal of village area Local Council Chairpersons detailing names of persons whose IDs have been produced but are yet to be signed out.

The body added that details about times and venues for collection will be communicated as shall have been drawn up by the various NIRA district teams who are said to be working in close collaboration with district administrative authorities.

“Members of the public who registered but have not received their National IDs are encouraged to check for their details with the area LC1 Chairpersons before reporting to the designated issuance centres,” said NIRA in one of its tweets.

The body said the distribution exercise, which is about to start, will also see the National ID cards of children who registered under the Registration of Learners exercise and had clocked 16 years at the time handed out to them.

“The national IDs of learners in this category will be issued at the Sub-Counties under which their respective schools fall,” NIRA announced.

This planned ID distribution exercise comes just months after NIRA resumed the issuance of ID cards following about three months of no operations as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Uganda is on the path to issuing digital IDs for all citizens. In 2019, the country secured the services of Muehlbauer, for the production of digital ID cards for Ugandans.

The East African country has since embarked on a vociferous campaign to popularize the initiative, and Muehlbauer said last year nearly 30 million citizens had registered for the permanent biometrics-backed ID number.

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