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The Government of Uganda asked the communications authority in Uganda – Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) to extend the previous deadline date set for verification of SIM cards. In compliance to the Ugandan Government’s requests, UCC has extended the deadline for verification of SIM cards. The deadline date is now the 19th of May 2017.

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The previous date set by UCC for the verification of SIM cards was scheduled to end on April 11, 2017. The SIM cards are to be validated against the National Identification and Registration Authority database in Uganda.

In a statement released by UCC, it was made known that all the comprising bodies of the process will complete the registration process following the guidelines set.

Godfrey Mutabazi, Executive Director of UCC said, “The Government has now directed that the Commission extend this verification and validation exercise to May 19, 2017. Accordingly, the Commission informs the public of the said extension and urges the general public to utilise the extended period to verify and validate their SIM cards using their National Identification Cards and numbers. The telecommunication service providers are directed to comply.”

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Executive Director of Research ICT Africa (RIA), Dr Alison Gillwald wasn’t really pleased with the factors surrounding the drive for the SIM cards registrations.

Gillwald explained, “Despite little evidence that mandatory SIM registration contributes to safeguarding our digital security and physical safety it has become a universal regulatory standard in Africa to facilitate the monitoring and interception of communications. With little to no public debate about the wider social or political effects and in the face of evidence of the negative effects on connectivity, particularly for the poor, 49 of the 55 countries in Africa by 2014 had mandated SIM card registration or were in the process of doing so. This is significantly more adoption than in other regions. According to the Global Mobile Association (GSMA) in 2013 African countries made up 37 of the 80 countries globally that had mandated pre-paid SIM registration.”

Managing Director at Africa Analysis Dobek Pater completely disregards the motive behind the registration of SIM cards, stating that the registration of SIMs could not ensure decrement in crime rates.