By Uganda Online Media
The Ministry of Internal Affairs has revealed that of the 43 million Ugandans, only 0.0036% have passports.
According to Ministry of Internal Affairs spokesperson, Simon Mundeyi, this is a worrying trend that needs to change.
“Out of the population of approximately 43 million Ugandans, only 1.561 million hold passports. This means 0.0364% of Ugandans have passports and the rest of Ugandans 99.87% don’t hold passports. This is a very worrying trend,” Mundeyi said.
Mundeyi divulged that despite the huge numbers always lining up at different passport centres, especially in Kampala, the number of Ugandans who currently hold these travel documents is less than two million.
Several Many Ugandans have always expressed disappointment due to the challenges they go through in order to obtain travel documents with most citing the poor attitude toward acquiring travel documents has kept many away from getting them.
A number of Ugandans believe that passports are only needed for travel purposes, especially outside the country and with the coming of the national IDs as documents that can be used for travel to various East African countries; many have kept away from getting passports.
“Many think of getting passports when they get trips abroad. A few Ugandans can apply for passports, keep them and wait for the trips to come. Many say passports are very expensive and cannot part with shs250,000 just for getting passports just to keep and wait for trips,” Mundeyi said.
Mundeyi said that because many Ugandans don’t expect trips abroad but also in the past many never had opportunities for scholarships to study abroad, the uptake for passports has remained down.
“Many Ugandans think having a passport is a preserve of those with a high status in society yet it is not true.”
The Ministry of Internal Affairs spokesperson also revealed that a number of Ugandans have been frustrated from applying for passports after seeing colleagues and relatives lose huge sums of money to conmen disguising as brokers.
Mundeyi cited a senior government official who was recently defrauded of shs2 million by a broker under the pretext of helping him to process a passport.
He explained that having paid the money, the senior government official was made to wait for over five hours for the document only to realize he had been defrauded before he contacted the ministry officials for assistance.
“You don’t have to use brokers because the process is easy. You can apply for a passport while seated in your bedroom or in a taxi. Everything is online, including payment of the passport fees,”he said.
He however noted that the government has now started efforts to sensitize Ugandans on acquiring passports not only as travel documents but also as identification and security documents for citizens of the East African country.