Minister for ICT and National Guidance, Hon Frank Tumwebaze, states that many Ugandans have responded positively to SIM card registration and verification exercise that was embarked on by government a month ago.
Tumwebaze says that the overall objective of this exercise was purely to provide national security safeguards, adding that mobile phone telecommunications is one of the most commonly used method of communication among citizens and has greatly revolutionized the way businesses are run. He said negative elements have also taken advantage of the same means of communication to plan, coordinate, finance and execute their criminal activities with ease and sophistication.
The minister adds that deadline of 19th May set by government will be enforced. “This is therefore to confirm that the deadline stands and all unregistered, unverified and un-validated SIM cards will be switched off initially for voice communications. In other words the holders of those cards will not be able to receive or make calls”, he said.
As a measure however, to mitigate loss of money for those with Mobile Money deposits, Hon Tumwebaze says that the service will not be switched off for the unregistered, unverified and un-validated SIM cards. “A transition period will be allowed for those Mobile Money customers to either withdraw their balances or transfer them to registered SIM cards or to their banks. While withdrawal or transfer of Mobile Money balances on unregistered/unverified numbers will be enabled, loading/depositing of more money will be disabled on the unverified cards”, he added.
He further said the exercise of verification continues just as registration of citizens is continuous. “Any citizen with the requisite registration/verification documents will then approach their service provider to either register for any new SIM card or verify their old but switched off cards”, he pointed out.
Government embarked on an exercise of ensuring that every SIM card of an individual gets validated and verified for purposes of ensuring secure and safer communications and instructions; were given to all telecom companies through the regulator, UCC to enforce the exercise. By Drake Nyamugabwa