Ruhakana Rugunda, Uganda's prime minister, speaks during an interview in New York, U.S. on Thursday, July 23, 2015. Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg *** Local Caption *** Ruhakana Rugunda

The Prime Minister of Uganda, Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda has ordered the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) to extend the simcard registration verification deadline, PC Tech Magazine has learnt.

The directive was given in a letter dated April 19th to the Executive Director of UCC, Eng. Godfrey Mutabaazi.

In the letter, Rugunda ordered that the deadline which was set to expire on Thursday April 20th be extended by one month to May 19th to allow Ugandans ample time to register their lines.

“The government has reviewed the said timelines and taken a decision that the ongoing simcard verification exercise should be extended to the 19th of May 2017,” Rugunda wrote.

An image of the letter from the OPM.

UCC on April 11th had ordered telecommunications operators to deactivate all simcards whose registration particulars won’t be verified to match the National ID database by Thursday April 20th.

They further ordered that forthwith, only National IDs be used as the only legal identification documents in registration of simcards, a move that has been contested and criticized by a number of stakeholders in the ICT sector.

While appearing before the Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights chaired by Jovah Kamateka, UCC’s Director Co-operations, Fred Otunnu revealed to legislators that only 50 percent of mobile phone users had complied and verified their simcards by Wednesday.

Otunnu indicated that this was remarkable progress although expressed worry about procrastination incase the deadline was extended.

Rugunda’s directive comes in the midst of court cases challenging UCC’s Directive that had caused panic mostly amongst business men who rely on Mobile transaction to earn a living.

Editor’s Note: This is story been updated.