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Electronic passport officials seek Shs56bn for newspapers, allowances

If approved, taxpayers will foot Shs55.3 billion toward books, periodicals and newspapers for the officials as well as another Shs1.4 billion for allowances of the officials

NATIONAL | The National Citizenship and Immigration Control is seeking Shs60 billion in supplementary funding to cater for the implementation of electronic passport.

A breakdown of the Shs60,212,776,512 supplementary funding, tabled before the Budget Committee on Tuesday by State Minister for Planning David Bahati, shows that books, periodicals and newspapers and allowances for the officials tasked with implementation of the e-Passports will cost the taxpayer a whopping Shs56 billion.

According to the breakdown, the department that is under the Ministry of Internal Affairs has budgeted for Shs1.4 billion for allowances of the officials, and medical expenses at Shs152.8 million.

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If approved, taxpayers will foot Shs55.3 billion toward books, periodicals and newspapers for the officials, as well as another Shs68.3 million for computer supplies.

Additionally, welfare and entertainment is set to cost Shs95.6 million whereas printing stationary, photocopying and binding will cost another Shs95 million and airtime and telephone bills also at Shs95 million.

They also plan to spend Shs1.6 billion in postage and courier services, rent at Shs382 million, water Shs86 million, and other utilities (fuel, gas, firewood, charcoal) Shs61 million.

For travel inland, Shs269 million projection is being requested while travel abroad Shs237.5 million, fuels, lubricants and oils Shs95 million, maintenance machinery, equipment and furniture will cost Shs95 million.

Uganda’s implementation of electronic passport follows the 17th Ordinary Summit of the East African Community Heads of State and Government in March 2016, that saw the launch of the new EAC e-Passport.

Partner state leaders agreed to commence issuance of the new international EAC e-Passport, whose use was to take effect on January 1, 2019.

The development saw the government announce changes in prices for the electronic passports in what the Ministry of Internal Affairs argued is intended to generate Non-Tax Revenue with the ordinary passport of 48 pages to go for Shs250,000, 64 pages at Shs300,000, official/service passport of 64 pages Shs400,000 and the 64-page diplomatic passport at Shs500,000.

Yet still, those in urgent need of passports will have to part with Shs150,000 as express services, while courier fee for Diaspora passport applications will cost Shs300,000 and the Diaspora ordinary passport of 64 pages is Shs350,000.

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