The Ministry of Works and Transport has announced modifications to the driving permits which include new security features aimed at guarding them against fraud and forgeries.
Government last year unveiled the Uganda Security Printing Company (USPC) as the new company that will start issuing driving permits in Uganda to replace South African firm, Face Technologies whose contract expired.
The Uganda Security Printing Company will start work on March, 1.
Addressing journalists at the Uganda Media Centre on Wednesday, Gen Edward Katumba Wamala, the Minister for Works noted that the contract they signed with the new company for the design, production and issuance of driving permits, all the software including the source codes and licence belong to the government of Uganda.
“It is important to note that we are moving from the current Uganda Computerized Driving System to the Uganda Driving Licences System which is more sophisticated and allows for issuance of the new driving licences that are more internationally recognized,”Katumba said.
He noted that the new driving permit designs will take into consideration International Organization for Standardization requirements and the Tripartite Transport and Transit Facilitation Program(TTFP) which is aimed that having a harmonized card for three regional locks including the East African Community, SADC and COMESA.
“Drivers with the new driving permits will be able to drive through any of the member countries with less restriction,” he added.
The new driving permits according to the minister will have an Issuer’s Identification Number to easily identify the issuing authority of the document, a feature that is complied to by only Uganda in the entire East and South African region.
There will also be an integration of the National ID information on the new driving permits and consequently, all applicants will be required to present their national IDs or passports for non-Ugandans to help reduce on data duplication but also for easy tracking through government systems.
The new driving permits in addition to the existing one-year and three years validity will also have a five-year validity regime that according to government will be a big relief to drivers to reduce on the frequent visits and expenditure in renewing the permits.
“The new driving licence has been designed with the best technology to include very sophisticated security features that are hard to forge. The system has also been tightly integrated with the Police systems for easy verification and issuance of express penalties by the traffic police gadgets at various checkpoints,”Gen Katumba Wamala said.
The minister noted that the new software for permits will include public key infrastructure which digitally signs the licences to prove the document source as well as the integrity of the material used when verified in any part of the world.
The ministry will also introduce a professional driving permit for drivers of commercial vehicles that carry more than eight passengers and goods vehicles that carry more than 3500 kilograms aimed at ensuring the professionalizing of the drivers in accordance with international standards.
Following the announcement of the expiry of Face Technologies contract and government opting to use another firm, many Ugandans have been skeptical over the move and services of the new company.
Many say the bar set by the South African firm was too high that it cannot be matched in as far as efficiency at the application and issuance of driving permits is concerned.