Setbacks Plague Uganda Security Printing Company’s 2026 Election Preparation

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The Uganda Security Printing Company (USPC), initiated in 2022 to support Uganda’s democratic process, faces delays that may impact its readiness for the 2026 elections, as revealed in a recent briefing to the Parliamentary Committee on Defence and Internal Affairs. The committee, assessing the construction progress at Entebbe, learned that the National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA) declined to cooperate, hindering USPC’s expected government business.

USPC, a public-private partnership with the Government of Uganda (51%) and Veridos, a German firm (49%), encounters financial challenges due to NIRA’s reluctance to fulfill its commitment. The company, designed to operate independently without national funding, focuses on security printing, deemed crucial for national interest.

Despite over 70% completion of construction, financial hurdles have caused a six-month delay, pushing the possible completion of civil works to June 2025. The original plan was to deliver the project by December 2024, leaving USPC behind schedule for the 2026 elections’ printing requirements.

USPC has hired technical staff and outsourced initial printing work abroad to build confidence. However, NIRA’s refusal to commission USPC for national identification cards and other security documents poses a significant challenge. Efforts to resolve the issue, including high-level meetings, have not yielded progress.

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The standoff persists despite agreements and sample works approved by NIRA, raising concerns among MPs about USPC’s role and potential cost escalation. Committee Chairman Wilson Kajwengye acknowledged the high expectations for USPC’s contribution to the democratic process but kept discussions minimal, suggesting further internal deliberations. The committee members inspected the construction site but refrained from joint meetings with USPC and NIRA management, opting for internal decisions on the next steps.

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