National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA) started registration of persons for National Identity cards in 2014. The national ID card would soon become a mandatory document for registration of SIM cards of all telecom services. National Information Technology Authority Uganda (NITA-U) made a project aimed to integrate all government systems and the private sector for easy access by the Ugandan citizens through a mobile app and online portal using National ID Number (NIN) as the central means of identification. The NIN has currently evolved to become your digital trail and you should therefore guard it jealously.
Telecoms previously prompted subscribers to type in their National ID numbers and then the information would be synchronized to see whether it matches before the registration was validated. This had loop holes as people would register their SIM Cards with NINs that didn’t belong to them. Airtel Uganda had the option to update your SIM card registration data online but all those have been halted by the regulator.
Recently, UCC issued a directive to telecom operators against fraudulent National ID registration of SIM cards as it continues to fight cyber crimes. UCC issued a directive to make available the short code 197 to enable customers verify numbers registered to their NINs. The directive aimed at activating and upgrading the 197 code to enable self-verification by customers with immediate effect. The commission UCC on 26 March, began assessing compliance by all telecom operators in line with this directive. The commission says that failure to comply shall attract regulatory sanctions in accordance with the law.
How to check who is using your NIN
You can now check do a self verification to ascertain the numbers registered under your NIN by simply dialling *197# across all networks. You then input your NIN and the list of numbers registered with your NIN will be displayed.
Dial *197#, select option 3 and enter your NIN.
Dial *197#, select option 2 and enter your NIN.
Dialc*197#, select option 1 and enter your NIN.
What if there are unknown numbers using my NIN?
You will be able to demand deactivation of numbers registered to your NIN without your consent by fulfilling the identification requirements with the telecom company and NIRA.