KAMPALA – The high volume of applications for travel permits has overwhelmed the Ministry of Works and Transport.
President Yoweri Museveni, last Friday announced a second total lockdown, but tasked the Ministry of Works to identify and process ease movement for essential workers within the Kampala Metropolitan Area.
Bageya Waiswa, the Ministry of Works Permanent secretary said on Tuesday that they had received a huge number of applications ever since they opened the system, which has led to a delay in the issuance of the permits. He was however confident that by Sunday this week, the ministry will have cleared the available applications.
He said that in the meantime, the essential workers will be allowed to use their official identity cards on specific routes to ensure that those allowed to drive are either from their homes to their workplace or vice versa.
Bageya noted that as one of the means to increase their efficiency, they had decided that all applications come through professional associations or line Ministries and departments rather than being filed as individuals.
For instance, the permanent secretary said that they had directed all essential workers in the health sector to channel their applications through the ministry of health while media practitioners have to do so through Uganda Media Centre.
“I think this will save our time but also eliminate fraud. The associations, professional bodies, or line ministries will first verify whether the names are valid. Several individuals have applied to the system yet they are not essential,” said Bageya.
While appearing on NBS television on Tuesday morning, Winston Katushabe, the commissioner in charge of Transport Regulation and Safety noted that they were able to process 962 travel permit applications on the first day.
Katushabe said that with the huge number of applicants for the travel permits, they have decided to give first priority to health workers.
Katushabe said that they have also established a simple cross checking mechanism where anyone including police officers can use the short message service to verify whether the vehicle is cleared to be on the road or not. All one needs to do is to send the Vehicle Number Plate to 6120.
“Regardless of the telecommunication company you are using, you will be given a reply showing that the car is cleared or not. The reply will be coming with the names of a person who is supposed to be in that vehicle,” said the commissioner.
He said the clearance for several groups of people, besides health workers, would be valid for only two weeks to enable rotation of staff as directed by the president.
Although people who wish to travel outside Kampala metropolitan area for different emergencies like burials were also told to send applications to the Works Ministry, the spokesperson Suzan Kataike said such persons can in the meantime use permits issued by Resident City Commissioners and LC I chairpersons.