By Richard Kavuma
With my driving permit expiring next week, I had no choice but to embrace the new Uganda Driving Licence System (UDLS).
I had heard very sceptical and critical comment about UDLS on radio earlier this week. Many listeners could not imagine that UDLS could match the relative efficiency of Face Technologies. But change is change and UDLS is what we have. So I embarked on the process.
I will share my experience and hope one of my friends finds it useful.
STEP 1: THE PROCEDURE:
I first visited the usable UDLS website www.udls.go.ug, and got this step-by-step guide.
1) Go to the URA Portal to generate the Renewal’ assessment form.
2) Go to the bank (of your choice) and pay appropriate fees(UGX 310,000/UGX.
210,000/UGX 130,000) to URA account (the bank will provide the account number)
or you can pay through your prefered mobile money service, MTN mobile
3) Go to the UDLS Offices with the bank receipt [of (ii) above], together with your
existing licence (the one you want to renew, if in case you lost it, please go to the
procedure for Duplicate).
4) UDLS will issue the renewed licence
STEP 2: GETTING THE URA PAYMENT SLIP:
If you have never generated a URA payslip, you are likely to get stuck.
First of all, you need to have your TIN number and URA account and you need to log into that URA account.
I say that because until I logged in, I couldn’t see the “e-services” section, which is your starting point.
Fortunately, URA runs a functional toll-free call centre: I called 0800117000 and and and a young man ‘clicked’ me through the process.
So, if you have never activated your URA account, please consider doing so.
While generating the payslip, I realized that the option of a 5-year permit is not available. It has not been put into the system, the URA man told me matter-of-factly.
STEP 3: THE BANK
After getting my payslip generated and printed, I presented it to the bank and paid the UGX 210,000 plus bank charges of UGX 2,300. The process in the bank lasted barely four minutes.
STEP 4: AT THE UDLS OFFICES:
To beat the feared queues, I arrived at Uganda Railways headquarters (where UDLS is based) at 7.15am, but it looked deserted. I returned at 8.30am to find more UDLS staff than clients. It appears the company (or the system) is eager to impress, and has many friendly faces to make you feel welcome.
But first, you must show your original driving permit and paid-up bank slip to the man in Police uniform at the gate. He must see them or you won’t enter.
Inside the paved gate with a waiting white tent and white plastic seats, I was informed by a bubbly chubby lady that there was a problem for Ugandans named too elaborately.
For people with more than two names, the lady explained apologetically, our system can’t retrieve your information from the NIRA database. The problem is on the NIRA side, but we are working to get it resolved.
I need to give UDLS 1 – 2 weeks.
I was certainly disappointed by the message, but the courtesy of the messenger kept me positively calm.
Another smiling young lady wrote my name and contact number.
She will call me when the NIRA problem is resolved.
In the meantime, I was advised, if any Traffic Police officers stop me over my expired permit, I should them my payslip and as evidence that this matter is being addressed.
I also overheard the man in uniform tell a client to photograph a notice about delayed issuance of permits from the Face Technologies era:
“No one will bother you, just show them that notice about the delays”.