UGANDANS will have national identity cards by 2010, which may be used in the next national elections. This was announced by internal affairs minister Ruhakana Rugunda at the ministryâ€™s headquarters in Kampala.
The National Identification Project is expected to cost $56m (sh95b), according to the coordinator of the Uganda National Identification Programme, Irene Kawuma.
She said they were targeting about 13 million people, which is the total number of Ugandans above 16 years who are eligible for identity cards.
It was one of four projects launched yesterday by Rugunda. The others were a communication system to ease communication with Ugandaâ€™s border posts, an automation system aimed at computerising all data concerning migration, and a resource centre.
The British government has injected $260,000 (about sh440m) in the four projects, which are all in their infancy stages. They are being implemented by the International Organisation of Migration (IOM).
Rugunda said national identification will improve Ugandaâ€™s capacity to detect criminal elements, including terrorists.
â€œUsing the new equipment, we can easily stop these bad elements since we can effectively communicate to 40 of our border posts, except Gulu,â€ he noted.
He assured that the identification process will be successful this time because new stakeholders were brought on board and there was a road-map that would be strictly followed.
The National Identification Project, which was earlier awarded to Face Technologies at $92m (sh155b), was halted by the Inspector General of Government (IGG) because the procurement process had been flawed.
Contec Global, one of the bidders, had complained of unfair treatment, prompting the IGG to investigate.
Observing that funding had been the main obstacle in the past, Rugunda thanked the British Government for their support.
He also hailed IOM for its outstanding reputation in helping immigrants, noting that the organisation paid for his return ticket when he returned from exile in Sweden in 1986.
â€œI am impressed by the identification target of 2010,â€ said Charles Hamilton, the deputy British High Commissioner to Uganda.
â€œBritain has set the same year to complete its identification process. Let us see who will arrive there first.â€
Hamilton also announced that Britain was sponsoring four people in the identification project to attend the Bio-Matrix Conference in London later this month.
Present at the launch were the IOM representative in Uganda, Jeremy Haslam, and the official in charge of migration at the British High Commission, Darren Forbes-Batey.
Ugandans to receive national ID cards