Sunday, July 11, 2010

Government wants more cash for ID project

The cost is astronomical, but it may be a shame when none Ugandans get these identity cards.
William Kituuka

Government wants more cash for ID project
By Yasiin Mugerwa
Posted Sunday, July 11 2010 at 00:00
Even before the government explains how the cost for National Identification project jumped from Shs181 billion to Shs253.5 billion, officials in the Ministry of Internal Affairs are demanding for an additional Shs600 million.
In the 2010/11 Ministerial Budget Statement to Parliament, Internal Affairs Minister Kirunda Kivejinja wants the additional cash to sensitise Ugandans on the need to have IDs.
“In the advent of the ID programme, public relations and awareness campaigns carried out countrywide is a necessity and additional Shs600 million is required,” Mr Kivejinja said in a statement.
Daily Monitor published a story last month, indicating that a confidential document on the implementation of the new National Security Information System (NSIS) deal - loosely referred to as the ID project, put the total cost of the project to Shs253.5 billion, even as it emerged that financial details were kept away from parliamentary scrutiny.
Who pays?
In a deal the government signed on March 19 with a German firm, Muhlbauer High Tech International that took the ID deal, the taxpayer will pay only Shs181 billion - less by Shs72.5 billion for the entire deal.
However, the new demand for cash for a project, whose cost is still being investigated by Parliament, has ignited anger among MPs, especially on the Defence and Internal Affairs Committee, threatening to block the new request.
Under investigation
“We are still investigating this ID project, we got information that the cost is not Shs181 billion and that it’s more than we thought,” MP Mukose Mutabali (NRM, Busiki) said. “They cannot ask for more money before we get to the bottom of the matter. We want value- for- money and we cannot just dish out taxpayers money like that.”
y issuing the identity cards to citizens, the government hopes to boost security; help eliminate corruption and aid in maintaining the integrity of the national voters’ register ahead of the 2011 general elections.
The need for additional funds comes after the Internal Affairs Permanent Secretary, Dr Steven Kagoda, on Monday told the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee that the IDs were likely to delay

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