The National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA) has raised concerns over the country’s readiness for the 2026 General Election due to potential delays caused by insufficient government funding. During a session with Parliament’s Committee on Defence and Internal Affairs, Ms. Rosemary Kisembo, the Executive Director of NIRA, expressed the organization’s apprehension about falling behind schedule in updating and renewing the national identity card register.
The UGX 666.850 billion, approved by Cabinet on August 15 last year for the exercise, was intended to be used for the acquisition of new equipment and the recruitment of additional staff. However, UGX 466.795 billion of this amount should have already been provided by the government to facilitate initial processes.
Ms. Kisembo has set January 31, 2024, as the deadline for all necessary requirements to be in place to ensure the successful execution of the exercise. She emphasized that without sufficient funds, the acquisition of essential hardware components would become nearly impossible, and the government might need to resort to a contingency plan, which would be indicated by raising a red flag on the specified date.
The outdated machines currently in use at NIRA’s offices are unable to handle the roll-out process for the necessary updates. Despite the Cabinet’s approval of Shs666.85 billion for the New Security Information System (NSIS) to finance the exercise, the funding allocation has not been realized as per the original plan, causing significant concerns for NIRA. The finances were intended to be disbursed over three financial years, starting with UGX 466.795 billion in 2022/23, followed by UGX 133.37 billion in 2023/24, and UGX 66.685 billion in 2024/25. However, this funding allocation has not been met according to Ms. Kisembo.
In response to the funding challenge, NIRA is actively engaging with officials from the Ministry of Finance to consider seeking a supplementary budget of Shs370 billion for the exercise. The committee chairperson, Mr. Wilson Kajwengye, urged his colleagues to ensure that NIRA receives the necessary support, emphasizing the importance of a biometric system based on data provided by NIRA for the upcoming 2026 General Election.