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Gov’t extends face technologies contract

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The government has extended the contract of Face Technologies that is mandated to issue driving permits.

On Tuesday, the Ministry of Works and Transport said that all its regional driving permits issuance offices at Jinja, Mbale Gulu, Arua, Fort Portal and Mbarara would be closed to the public on December 1, until further notice.

According to the Ministry, the closure was to allow the incoming service provider, Uganda Security Printing Company (USPC) to remodel the facilities in preparation for take-over.

However, in a statement released on Wednesday, the Spokesperson Ministry of Works Susan Kataike said that Face Technologies will continue issuing the permits starting December 8, to give time to the new contractor to take over on March 1, 2021.

The contract of the South Africa-based company expired on November 30, and earlier the government had said the contract would not be renewed thereafter.

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The decision by the government to deny Face Technologies the chance to continue with the services left many Ugandans disappointed because of what they called a great improvement of the permit issuance process, which would take a few hours.

The tender for a new service provider was also not publicly advertised as per the provisions of the Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Act.

The Ministry of Works was then to take over the function, and a new government-owned company, Uganda Security Printing Company, which is a subsidiary of the Uganda Printing and Publishing Company Ltd, was named as the new issuer of the permits.

USPC, in partnership with German firm Varidos which is producing electronic passports, were to start production and issuance of the driving permits on December 1, according to the Ministry of Works and Transport, at a refurbished block at the Uganda Railways Corporation headquarters.

On Wednesday, drivers who went to Face Technologies offices were welcomed by a notice on the closed gate of the facility, that read, “…THE UGANDA COMPUTERIZED DRIVING PERMITS FACILITY IS CLOSED TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC UNTILL FURTHER NOTICE…”

Others who went to the Nasser Road Uganda Railways buildings were welcomed by UPDF soldiers who were manning the gate.

While handing over the contract to USPC last Thursday, the Permanent Secretary Waiswa Bageya hailed the new company’s product samples for their high standards, which the company vowed to maintain to improve service delivery.

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