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Tumwebaze: Government will stick to deadline for switching off unvalidated sim cards
Government is going to proceed with plans to switch off over 1.5 million sim-cards that have not yet been verified against the national IDs of their owners.

Government is going to proceed with plans to switch off over 1.5 million sim-cards that have not yet been verified against the national IDs of their owners.

The minister for Information, communication and technology, Frank Tumwebaze, told a  news conference on Friday afternoon that the move is intended to strengthen national security.

The minister for information, Frank Tumwebaze told the press that only voice communication and data capability would be turned of on uncompliant sim-cards. Tumwebaze said an exception would be made to allow mobile money account holders to withdraw their money even after the deadline had passed.

Currently, over 17.6 million simcards have been registered and verified with the National Identification Registration Authority.

The move was announced by government last month in a bid by different security agencies to combat crime committed through or planned and executed via unregistered simcards. The move was spurred on by investigations into the murder of AIGP Felix Kaweesi.

Long lines have been growing outside many ID registration centres with people anxious to register for their national ID. The minister says that they will permit application form numbers in the interim

It is not clear how many simcards are active in the Ugandan telecom market but an average estimate from the Uganda Communications Commission places it at over 19 million cards. 1.5 million of them are yet to be verified