Government is set to take over the issuance of driving licences from Face Technologies Ltd with legislators concerned that government is not prepared for the task.
According to Minister of Works and Transport Gen Katumba Wamala, on March 01, 2021, Uganda Security Printing Company (USPC), a joint venture company between the government owned Uganda Printing ond Publishing Corporation ond Veridos GmbH of Germany will commence issuance of driving licenses and other security documents of government.
Legislators are concerned that it will be Uganda’s first time to issue driving licenses but government has not demonstrated the capacity to offer such a service, which they say could open a window for forgeries and increased road carnage.
“We have been giving driving permits and now we are going to start giving driving licenses but government has not yet showed us its preparedness; licenses are of international standard and if we are not prepared, we will have many forgeries.” said Hon James Byandala (NRM, Katikamu North).
MPs noted that it was a wrong move for government to take up issuance of driving licenses before cracking down the high number of drivers and riders on roads without proper training and licenses.
“It is not a matter of issuing driving licenses. What type of drivers are there on the road? I have seen police officers fail to get driving permits when they are being tested for UN peace keeping mission, because they don’t know how to drive, ,” said Hon Jack Wamanga Wamai (FDC, Mbale Municipality).
Wamanga Wamai asked government to expeditiously set up training institutions where people could be trained, so as to curb down the high number of road carnage.
Legislators raised their concerns following a statement by from the State Minister for Works and Transport, Hon. Joy Kabatsi on the transition from Face Technologies to USPC.
Kabatsi said that the existing equipment by Face Technologies has been handed over to the government including the Data Recovery Centre and staff recruited.
“Both technical and operational staff have now been recruited to fill up all the available positions with priority was given to staff formerly employed by Face Technologies Limited,” she said.
The Minister added that the Uganda Driver Licensing System will be integrated or interfaced with other systems of the police, Uganda Revenue Authority, NIRA and NITA to enhance regulation and service delivery.
They were dismayed on learning that government is concentrating on licensing motor vehicles and ignoring boda bodas which remain the highest causes of road accidents.
The Leader of the Opposition, Hon Betty Aol Ocan said that there is need to focus on the regulation of the boda boda riders who are the main cause of road accidents.
“We should make an effort and help them to access cheaper licenses and cheap or free training because many of them will not afford driving licenses” Aol Ocan said.
The chairperson the Committee on Physical Infrastructure, Hon Robert Kafeero said that his committee in its earlier assessment of the transition plan, observed several porous areas that leave much to be desired.
He for instance said there is no mechanism to compel people to be tested for proper driving and riding, saying licensing only will not solve the increasing road carnage.
The Committee, Kafeero said, will conduct an oversight visit to Uganda Security Printing Company on 15 March 2021 to address the fears expressed by legislators.