The Government of Uganda commenced the process of registering Ugandans in 2014, with mass enrolment of Ugandans. This culminated in the issuance of the first ever national IDs in 2015 under the National Security Information System (NSIS) Project.
Thereafter, the Registration of Persons Act (ROPA) was enacted and it established the registration of persons as a continuous process in perpetuity. The Act also established the National Identification and Registration Authority (Nira) as the lead agency of government to register persons and issue national IDs.
The new law also consolidated the National ID registration and Civil Registration (CRVS) processes, including registration of births and deaths as well as Adoption Orders under one mandate.
The intent of the consolidation was to provide for an end-to-end process that would lead to the establishment of a live and dynamic National Identification Register (NIR), with birth registration as the feeder and death registration the breeder point.
The Act also makes registration of persons mandatory. However, it is important to note that under the law, only persons aged 16 years and above are entitled to hold National IDs while those below 16 years are registered and given National Identification Numbers (NINs).
To better understand the current status of registration, it is important to note that Uganda began the process of setting up a National Identification Register at the mid-point, with the National ID registration process, unlike in other countries where registration of persons begins with birth registration.
Birth registration provides the first form of identity for a child and establishes the first record of the event of a person’s birth. Up until the Act came into effect, registration of births and deaths was not mandatory.
So, where are we today? To date, 27,777,811 applications for National IDs have been received by Nira. Of these, 23,964,154 have been processed up to the point of allocation of NINs.
These include both adults and children below 16 years. Nira has to date printed 17,682,214 National IDs for the 19,911,700 Ugandans aged 16 years and above, representing 88.8 per cent of the population entitled to hold NIDs. This leaves 2.2 million persons in that bracket whose applications are under process, or are yet to be registered.
Given the progress made in regard to National ID registration, our attention is being refocused towards the registration of the 20 million Ugandans aged between 0 and 15 years through birth registration, as well as registration of deaths to complete the NIR.