President Yoweri Museveni has directed that all Government security documents, such as currency, election materials, passports, identity cards and driving licences be printed in the country to end the haemorrhage of foreign exchange.
In a letter to the Prime Minister, Ruhakana Rugunda, dated March 23, 2020, the President noted that his directive takes immediate effect.
Finance, planning and economic affairs minister Matia Kasaija, in a letter to Rugunda dated April 29, 2020, noted: “As we prepare for the next financial year, I would like to propose that we issue a circular to all accounting officers to implement the directive as part of the execution of the Financial Year 2020/21 budget, unless you have any objection.”
State Minister for Internal Affairs Obiga Kania said the President’s directive was long overdue and that they have been spending a lot of money on importing printed security documents.
“We had contracted a German firm, Veridos Identity Solutions GmbH, to print our passports locally after they entered a joint venture with Uganda Printing & Publishing Corporation (UPPC) on June 11, 2016. They have, however, been importing already printed passports, but with the President’s directive, this will come to an end.
“We have been spending a lot of money printing abroad, but when we start printing locally, not only shall we create jobs, but also save money and build expertise,” Kania said yesterday.
The National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA) spokesperson, Gilbert Kadilo, said the authority was already compliant with the directive.
“All our identity cards have been printed locally,” he said.
The move to print locally will benefit a number of local companies. Uganda has a number of local printing firms, with the biggest being UPPC — a state corporation established by the Uganda Printing and Publishing Corporation Act (Cap.330 of the Laws of the Republic of Uganda).
UPPC currently handles both governmental and private sector printing and publishing. On June 11, 2016, UPPC entered into a contract with a Germany firm, Veridos Identity Solutions GmbH and bided for a multibillion security printing deal to print Ugandan currency. They controversially won the tender after beating De La Rue International Ltd and Muhlberger GmbH and Co. KG, who submitted their bid jointly with Hungarian Banknote Printing Shareholding Company.
The Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authority denied being part of the team that handled this particular procurement.