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Why NIRA should benchmark Face technologies on how to execute its tasks

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Added 2nd June 2019 06:41 PM

Many Ugandans have at one given time experienced the bureaucracy at government offices that deter our demand for certain services.

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Florence Kiremerwa

Many Ugandans have at one given time experienced the bureaucracy at government offices that deter our demand for certain services.

By Florence Kiremerwa 

For any Ugandan to get prompt and suitable services from a government agency, where you may have visited, it is predictable that one may have to bribe to be served.

In certain circumstances, one may not believe that they can access services without fraud involved, and where it occurs, it is like a dream come true.

Many Ugandans have at one given time experienced the bureaucracy at government offices that deter our demand for certain services.

This is the ‘’perceived’’ norm, which is caused to the experiences some Ugandans have been exposed to from institutions. 

However, some MDAs have redeemed their reputation and derived pro-active programmes that have proved to the country the possibility of improved service delivery from government offices.

For instance, the Directorate of Citizenship and Immigration Control (DCIC) at the Ministry of Internal Affairs have demonstrated tremendous service delivery to the diaspora, who have sought dual citizenship.

At the numerous diaspora awareness workshops’ held in Uganda every December and abroad, many Ugandans have been overwhelmed by the diligence and commitment of the officials at such events in serving them promptly.

The experience some Ugandans in the diaspora have received at similar events has been so hard with the exception of those who have benefitted from such events.

Those who have had an expose’ from the perfection and dedication of the government officials, can testify on their experiences. Through numerous avenues, they have expressed their gratitude for the services accessed, which they might have taken months chasing to access in vain.  

It is a practice DCIC had proved us of possibility to transfer their ecumenism to offer a service in a day’s time. The imitative the collaboration from the ministry in collaboration with the Office of the Special Presidential Assistant on Diaspora Issues (SPA-D) in the Presidents’’ Office, has been remarkable and needs to be commended, scaled and where applicable cascaded into other government agencies operations too. One wonders, why can’t DCIC offer those similar services in one day at the ministry since the Diasporians are paying $400- for the services?

The other agency to commend has been Face Technologies limited an agency supervised by the Ministry of Works and Transport, that provides a driving license in a day as long as all procedures are finalised. Their propensity and attitude should be emulated by agencies like NIRA, which has been in the spotlight for inconveniences; delays; and fraud cases to accessing IDs.

While NIRA is experiencing this hullaballoo, where many are aggrieved of its services, whereby the processing of an ID takes about three months and above, in addition to the long wait in queues to receive an ID at a sub-county office; district or any point of distribution? People queuing for as early as 7.00a.m. in search of their IDs to the detriment of not being productive the entire day in these hard times of economic strife where it is ‘’Hand to Mouth’’ mode of life. Since money is paid in bribes, I would suggest that an official fee of sh10, 000 be charged, but in return, one gets their ID in one hour.

Has NIRA consulted face technologies?  If not, why not benchmark the processes at Face Technologies and acquire skill on how and what system it has installed and the integrated IT processes that have to boost the quick delivery of licenses?

In course of executing my tasks in collaboration with FTL at Diaspora events’ abroad and here, I have noticed the proficiency with which applicants from the Diaspora receive their licenses on spot. Why does NIRA have to keep data processed for months before an applicant may receive his/her ID? Ugandans are in quest for quick and pragmatic solutions to their obligations as Ugandans get IDs. They shouldn’t experience the long delays and queues and the exceptional mistakes executed by authorities as they capture data and end with misspelt names or particulars for which they have to pay for. NIRA, the burden is upon it to devise applicable appropriate technology and also to redeem its work ethics to the rescue of citizens of Uganda in demand of their IDs. No one would love to antagonise NIRA, but experience from other agencies should be the yardstick for them to benchmark, design mechanisms for improving its service delivery. 

Inclusion of the Diaspora in elective politics, by enacting the necessary legal framework; the institution of procedures to be followed as guided by the responsible authority- Independent Electoral Commission, is a key component of nation-building. Such imitative such enhance legitimacy of the regime and its democratic image as well. This segment should not be disenfranchised simply because they live abroad.

As the person in charge of advancing the Diaspora issues in the Office of the President, I suggest that Uganda we should emulate other African countries that have embraced voting either by personal voting; postal voting; the proxy vote; and or through Electronic e-voting.

The writer is the Special Presidential Assistant on Diaspora Issues in the Office of the President
 

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