KAMPALA – The minister Internal Affairs Mr. Jeje Odong, has revealed that plans are underway to reduce the time taken to process passports to two days compared to the minimum two weeks spent in processing and acquiring the travel document.
Mr. Odong made the remarks on Wednesday, April 3, while interfacing with Members of Parliament (MPs) on the Defence and Internal Affairs Committee where the team from the ministry had appeared to present their 2019/2020 ministerial policy statement.
While highlighting some of the priorities the ministry will undertake in the coming financial year, the minister said: “We would like to improve the processing of passports, we would like Ugandans to apply passports and receive it in two days.”
While defending the budget, Mr. Odong asked the Committee to back up the institution’s proposal to have the ministry of Internal Affairs budget increased by 20% with the ministry’s headquarters set to receive a 9% increment to enhance the national security coordination, as long as the UGX44b to cater for procurement of e-passports, as well as the budget for Uganda Police and NIRA, were increased by UGX151b and UGX10b respectively to cater for the preparation for the 2021 general elections.
On some of the activities undertaken in the current financial year, the minister told the Committee that the crime rate reduced to 133 for every 100,000 against a target of 292 for every 100,000 attributed to detection measures such as community policing and citizen’s participation.
The ministry is said to have installed 1,197 CCTV cameras at 530 sites around Kampala City and major highways.
However, the ministry admitted that they are faced with a number of challenges with the changing dimensions of crime especially urban murders drug and human trafficking cybercrimes proliferation of small arms and light weapons and kidnaps featuring top on the list.
The shortfall of accommodation, sanitation and utilities leading to overcrowding of facilities and inadequate service delivery is the other challenge as well as the continued infiltration of illegal immigrants coming into the country with the minister arguing that the vice remains a security risk and puts a lot of pressure on service delivery.
He also told MPs that the Uganda Prisons is grappling with the increased population of suspect prisoners and illegal immigrants exerts pressure on housing sanitation and utilities leading to overcrowding of facilities.
The Internal Affairs ministry has looked at implementing the electronic passports, CCTV project, prisoner management information system, conducting gun fingerprinting as well as preparation of 2021 general elections as some of the ministry’s top priorities in the coming financial year.
In 2018/2019 the ministry’s approved budget was UGX1.055 trillion and in the coming year, the ministry is set to receive UGX1.26 trillion but as at June 30, 2018, the ministry has domestic arrears of UGX129.4m of which electricity is UGX51.2m and salary is UGX78.3m.