What you need to know:
- In a statement issued yesterday, the manager for public relations and corporate affairs at NIRA, Mr Gilbert Kadilo, said some Ugandans apply to lower or increase their age for different purposes, a trend he said jeopardises the need for true and authentic data, which impacts national security and socio- economic development.
The National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA) is seeking to tighten controls on those who seek to alter their dates of birth on National Identity Cards in order to arrest the growing abuse of the practice.
In a statement issued yesterday, the manager for public relations and corporate affairs at NIRA, Mr Gilbert Kadilo, said some Ugandans apply to lower or increase their age for different purposes, a trend he said jeopardises the need for true and authentic data, which impacts national security and socio- economic development.
Mr Kadilo singled out civil servants who want to extend retirement, those who want to be 80 years to access the government’s Social Assistance Grants for Empowerment (SAGE cash), underage girls seeking to join the labour export market, and sports personalities seeking access to opportunities as the most common groups who seek to change their dates of birth.
“NIRA receives a weekly average of 200 applicants seeking to correct their dates of birth. The upsurge in requests for correction of errors in dates of birth motivated by ulterior motives constitutes a significant risk to the credibility and integrity of the National Identification Register, much to the detriment of the majority of Ugandans whose information is genuine in the register,” the statement reads.
In 2017, the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Public Service issued a circular to accounting officers, instructing that no requests for change of date of birth by public servants be entertained, citing a similar problem.
The statement by NIRA follows public backlash about a proposal to increase the fees for correction of errors from Shs50,000 to Shs500,000. The proposal was made before Parliament by NIRA on April 14.
But Mr Kadilo said this is meant to be a deterrent fee.
“The proposal to adjust the fees is based on assessed need to tighten controls and deter requests for correction of errors relating to date of birth, which the bigger number of applicants views as expedient to their needs in the circumstances, usually driven by the search for opportunity,” the statement reads in parts.
It adds: “The biggest issue is with the other categories of requests for change of dates outlined above that are driven by ulterior motives. It is these sorts of requests for change that should be made punitive. It is in this spirit that the proposal to raise the fees is premised.”
The proposal is not a guarantee that as soon as one pays, they will be permitted to effect the changes. One will be required to submit “verifiable proof” that includes a birth certificate or document to authenticate the variations.
But in cases of persons whose dates of birth were wrongly captured by NIRA, changes will be effected without cost.
Mr Kadilo also said efforts are underway to have registration points established at all health facilities to ensure all children born there or those coming for immunisation are registered and identified at birth.