By Gloria Nakiyimba
Prime Minister Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda’s directive comes a day to the expiry of the second deadline issued by Uganda Communications Commission.
On 12 April, UCC issued a seven day ultimatum for all telecommunications service providers to verify all SIM card subscriber details using their National Identification.
The first deadline for the re-registration exercise was supposed to expire on the 18th of April but UCC announced an extension to Thursday 20th April.
“The government has reviewed the said timelines and taken a decision that ongoing SIM card verification exercise should be extended to the 19th May 2017” read part of the statement issued on Wednesday by Prime Minister Rugunda.
As the final deadline of 20th April drew closer, long cues of Ugandans and foreigners have been forming up at various telecommunication service provider centers within Kampala and other parts of the country as many people tried to do last minute re-registration to beat the deadlines.
According to Uganda Communications Commission, Ugandans are required to use their National Identification Number-NIN to verify and validate their SIM cards. Foreigners should use their passports for the verification exercise while Refugees have to present their refugee IDs for the same.
At the conclusion of the verification exercise, members of the public who would not have complied risk having their mobile phone numbers deactivated.
The decision to re-validate the SIM card ownership was arrived at in a meeting between UCC, telecommunication companies and Security agencies attended by the Inspector General of Police General Edward Kale Kaihura last week.
According to the IGP, the move is intended to reign in on people abusing unregistered SIM card to commit crimes.
Several crimes in the past have been attributed to unregistered SIM card users.
It is alleged that assassins of AIGP Felix Kaweesi last month were using unregistered SIM cards to coordinate and execute their mission.