KAMPALA, UGANDA: Government through the National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA) has set tough conditions for Ugandans seeking to change their dates of birth on National IDs as a move to curb the increasing violation of the practice.
The manager for public relations and corporate affairs at NIRA, Mr Gilbert Kadilo says some Ugandans apply to lower or increase their age for different purposes which according to him jeopardises the need for true and authentic data used for national security and socio- economic development.
Mr. Kadilo in NIRA statement issued Thursday, April 28, said for instance, some civil servants apply to change their birthdates want to extend their retirement while others increase their age to 80 and above to access the government’s Social Assistance Grants for Empowerment (SAGE cash).
“NIRA receives a weekly average of 200 applicants seeking to correct their dates of birth. The upsurge in requests for the 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,” Kadilo said in a Thursday statement issued by NIRA.
He also singled out underage girls seeking to go abroad for work, and sports personalities seeking access to opportunities as the most common groups who seek to change their dates of birth.
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 earlier this month on April 14.
But According to Mr. Kadilo, the shs500,000 fee proposed is meant to be a deterrent fee to tighten unnecessary changes that may not be authentic.
“The proposal to adjust the fees is based on the 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,” he said.
“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.”
However, He explains that in cases of persons whose dates of birth were wrongly captured by NIRA, changes will be effected without any fee attached.
Mr. Kadilo further added that efforts are underway to have NIRA registration points established at all health facilities to ensure all children born there or those coming for immunisation are registered and identified at birth.
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