Mobile Money Uganda. (Photo Courtesy)
Mobile Money Uganda. (Photo Courtesy)

Government will proceed to deactivate voice communication on all unregistered, unverified and un-validated SIM cards at midnight tonight, Minister for Information, Communication Technology and National Guidance, Frank Tumwebaze has revealed.

He said that all unverified phones won’t be able to make or receive calls although the verification service will stay available at service centres or via USSD.

The Minister was Thursday addressing journalists at Uganda Media Centre on the fate of unverified simcards in the country.

Tumwebaze’s address followed a motion moved by parliament on Thursday evening, to have the simcard verification deadline extended over reasons spanning from Illegalities committed in the process and the projected losses once mobile money service is cutoff.

He however clarified that in order to mitigate the losses for those with mobile money deposits, the service on unverified phones won’t be affected by the cut-off.

He said a transition period will be allowed for those Mobile Money customers to either withdraw their balances, transfer them to registered SIM cards or to their banks.

“While withdrawal or transfer of Mobile Money balances on unregistered/unverified numbers will be enabled, loading or depositing of more money will be disabled on the unverified cards,” he added.

A bigger percentage of Ugandans currently uses mobile money to make transactions from within the country and across borders.

Although the provision left allows users to withdraw or transfer money to other simcards, the limitations to depositing will affect the already achieved financial inclusion in the country.

In his Friday address, Tumwebaze held that 92 percent of all active simcards in the country had been verified but according to the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC), only 14 million simcards had been verified out of the total 22 million simcards in the country.

He said that going forth, the National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA) will continue to allow new ID applicants whose IDs are still pending processing to use their application form numbers to have their simcards verified.