Uganda is one interesting country, especially when it comes to legislation and laws. Just the other day, the country’s government proposed to tax social media usage and mobile money transactions, something that we have not seen being done anywhere else. As if that was not enough pain for the country’s citizens, in the unfortunate event that one loses their SIM card and they want to get it replaced, the government will have you go up Mount Stanley and across Lake Victoria.
A little over two weeks ago, Uganda’s government issued new directives on SIM card registrations, replacements and SIM swaps, this was barely a month after the government had halted the process of SIM registration in order to install the Application Programming Interface (API) to ensure real-time, accurate verification and validation of SIM card registration information by National Identification Registration Authority (NIRA).
Here’s the process to replace a SIM card in Uganda:
- Go to the nearest police station to get a police report validating that you lost your SIM card
- Visit NIRA offices at Kololo Independence Grounds in Kampala with your identification documents
- Pay UGX.1,000 (Approx. Kes.30) via the bank
- Fill a form requesting SIM replacement at NIRA
- Wait five working days for your request to be processed
- Get a letter from NIRA directing your service provider to replace your SIM
- Visit your mobile service provider and fill a new SIM registration form with biometrics and a passport photo
- Pay UGX.2,000 (Approx. Kes.60) to your mobile service provider
- Get your new SIM
Telcos have also been directed to ensure that applicants use their SIM card on an approved genuine device. The whole process if full of “wow” moments. Like paying such a small amount via the bank, in the age of mobile money and having to travel to the capital city just to replace your SIM.
Like TMS Ruge said on Twitter, the only thing missing from the list is “the precious spilt blood of your first born… as insurance.”
Here’s a great idea for the adrenaline junkies, head to Tanzania and start a blog, then quickly get to Uganda and try to get a new SIM card as quickly as possible. First to complete gets an honorary mention 🙂