Government Progresses with Polycarbonate Passport Issuance
The Minister of State for Defence, Hon. Jacob Oboth, has confirmed that the issuance of polycarbonate passports to ordinary passport holders is proceeding according to plan. He presented this information during the parliamentary session held on October 31, 2023, which was chaired by Deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa.
As of March 2023, a total of 104,000 polycarbonate passports have been distributed, marking a significant milestone in the passport upgrade process. The transition to these advanced passports is part of the government’s ongoing efforts to enhance passport security and features.
Upgrade of Diplomatic and Service Passports
The government plans to extend this upgrade to diplomatic and service passports once the current stocks of ordinary passports have been depleted. The Minister explained that a multisectoral committee, led by the Rt. Hon. Prime Minister, decided to import polycarbonate passports instead of manufacturing them locally in Entebbe. This choice was made due to the absence of a security printing factory, which is necessary for producing these advanced passports.
Seamless Transition and Cost Maintenance
Minister Jacob Oboth assured the parliament that the Ministry of Internal Affairs has taken measures to ensure a smooth transition from paper-based e-passports to polycarbonate e-passports. This transition is aimed at preventing any inconvenience for passport holders. Importantly, the cost of the new polycarbonate e-passports will remain the same as the paper-based e-passports, at Shs250,000.
International Standards Compliance
The East African Community Secretariat had raised concerns about the quality and compliance of the paper biodata page e-passports. These concerns revolved around their failure to meet the standards recommended by the International Civil Aviation Organisation. The adoption of polycarbonate passports addresses these quality issues and aligns with international passport standards.
In summary, the rollout of polycarbonate passports in Uganda has made substantial progress, with over 100,000 distributed by March 2023. This transition to enhanced passports not only meets international standards but also ensures passport holders experience a smooth changeover without increased costs. The government’s commitment to passport security and quality is evident in this vital upgrade.
Key Passport Upgrade Information
|Passport Type||Progress||Transition Cost|
|Ordinary Passports||104,000 distributed||UGX 250,000|
|Diplomatic and Service Passports||Next phase of upgrade||Same cost as upgraded ordinary passports|
|Manufacturing Decision||Import due to lack of local security printing facility|
|Quality Compliance||Addresses international standards and ICAO requirements|