“Issuing new permits has been suspended until July to enable us cater for the backlog of those who are already driving, but need to renew their permits in order to be on the road,”
By Nelson Kiva
The latest measure the works and transport ministry has issued to suppress crowds at Face Technologies offices, is suspension of the issuing of new driving permits.
Hundreds of people seeking to acquire driving permits or renew the expired ones thronged the offices in Kyambogo from Wednesday to Friday.
This followed the re-opening of the offices after their temporary closure by the works minister, Gen. Edward Katumba Wamala, two months ago to tame the spread of COVID-19.
PEOPLE'S HEALTH AT RISK
The crowds raised concerns about the potential spread of COVID-19 since social distancing was not being observed. Before accessing the premises, people were subjected to body temperature screening and handwashing.
The officer in charge of Jinja Road Police Station, John Isabirye, confi rmed that most of the people were not observing social distancing much as the Police tried to enforce it. "All they think about is acquiring or renewing their driving permits, without minding about the health ministry guidelines," Isabirye said.
To deal with the situation before it got out of hand, the ministry on Friday announced a variety of measures.
The principal communication officer at the ministry, Susan Kataike, told journalists at the Uganda Media Centre in Kampala that the issuing of the new driving permits had been suspended until next month.
"Issuing new permits has been suspended until July to enable us cater for the backlog of those who are already
driving, but need to renew their permits in order to be on the road," Kataike said.
The office, she said, will only be able to serve 600 people daily on ‘first come first served' basis.
"We have decided that the first 600 people that show up been suspended until July to enable us cater for the backlog of those who are already driving, but need to their permits renewed.
The upcountry centres include Gulu, Soroti, Mbale, Fort Portal and Mbarara. According to the ministry, these will be re-opened next Monday.
The ministry also banned brokers from the offices. "You need to note that for you to get a permit, your fingerprint is required in the system and your picture has to be taken. So, if anyone lies to you that he or she will get you a permit, just know that person wants to cheat you.
Go to the bank and pay the Uganda Revenue Authority fees or go with your cash to Face Technologies," she said.