Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) - After failing to register all their subscribers in the past one year, telecom firms breathed a sigh of relief on Friday, as the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) extended the process by six months.
But UCC Executive Director Godfrey Mutabazi told the press that registration of Sim cards should be completed by all means within the grace period.
'We are aware that there have been some anomalies in the process; telecoms must get serious and register their subscribers,' he said.
'There will be no more time when six months elapse from now. It's not only Uganda that has done card registration. Rwanda, Kenya and other countries have done so.'
UCC extended the exercise to six more months - with first three months dedicated to rigorous registration while the last three months will be for telecom companies to verify people's particulars and address any anomalies that might have come up during the exercise.
'We believe this time is enough for the telecoms to register all their subscribers,' said Mutabazi. 'We don't want to switch off people because they have a right to communication.'
Blocking unregistered lines would also have affected fiscal performance. Uganda Revenue Authority indicates that Value Added Tax on phone airtime is one of the best performing tax heads, with a surplus of Shs 4.33bn for January 2013.
About 11 million (70 per cent) cards have been registered out of the estimated 16 million active cards.
By Alon Mwesigwa