NIRA, Telecoms now Able to Verify Customer Information

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In short
He says simcard users seeking to acquire, replace or upgrade their simcard should appear to the telecom operator in person with an original national identification card. The operator is expected to match the ID data using the electronic card reader and obtain real time online verification from the NIRA database through the API.

The National Identification and Registration Authority- NIRA and telecom companies are now able to match and verify customer's information against the national identification database. This follows the provision of connectivity to the Application Programming Interface (API) at NIRA, according to the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC).


In his communication to telecom companies on Tuesday, Godfrey Mutabazi, the Executive Director Uganda Communications Commission, says NIRA can now match and conduct real time online verification of customer's information with the national identification database.


He says simcard users seeking to acquire, replace or upgrade their simcard should appear to the telecom operator in person with an original national identification card. The operator is expected to match the ID data using the electronic card reader and obtain real time online verification from the NIRA database through the API.


Mutabazi however, says in case where the operator is unable to conduct real time online verification of the customer's information, the operator shouldn't proceed with the upgrade on renewal of the simcard. "The Commission reminds all operators to strictly comply with all the aforesaid conditions. Operators shall be individually held liable for any SIM Card registered, upgraded or replaced contrary to these guidelines." The notice reads.


Non Ugandan applicants are also required to physically appear and present their original Passports, with a valid visa or resident permit. The non-Ugandan applicants are also required to present a recent passport photograph, which shall be attached to the SIM Card registration form. 

"The simcard issued should only be active for the period of the validity of the customer's Visa or resident permit. The Operator must deactivate the SIM Card upon expiry of the customer's Visa or resident permit," reads the notice.
 
  
According to the notice, government stopped the sale of simcards in a bid to streamline simcard registration. It required all telecom operators to deploy electronic bio-metric card readers that would match the information on the IDs with the National data base. The move followed a rise in crime committed using mobile phones whose simcards can't be traced.

 

About the author

Alex Otto
“Journalism that changes lives is my goal,” Alex Otto has said on more than one occasion. That is his career’s guiding principle. Has been since he was a radio journalist in the northern Ugandan town of Gulu in 2009.

Otto passionately believes his journalism should bring to the fore the voices of the voiceless like the shooting victims of Apaa. Otto tries in his journalism to ask tough questions to those in positions of authority.

Based in the Kampala bureau, Otto is especially interested in covering agriculture, politics, education, human rights, crime, environment and business. He has reported intensively on the post-conflict situation in northern Uganda.

A URN staff member since 2014, Otto previously worked with The Observer Newspaper from 2012 to 2013 and later the Institute for War and Peace Reporting IWPR based in Gulu.

He was the URN Gulu bureau chief 2014-2016.