The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga has summoned Uganda Communication Commission (UCC) Executive Director, Eng Godfrey Mutabazi and the Parliament legal team to appear in her office to explain the way forward on reinstating the airtime scratch cards.
According to Speaker Rebecca Kadaga, the demand for the scratch cards which were phased out last year, is still high, regardless of the easy load system that was put in place by the telcos.
Kadaga told MPs while chairing plenary sitting that the times she has been interacting with the public through the radio talk shows, the issue of having no scratch cards was raised by several members of the public.
“Members, the Minister of ICT, Frank Tumwebaze as well as the UCC Executive Director, Godfrey Mutabazi say that they have no powers to handle the communication companies,” Kadaga said.
She added that, “We cannot allow a situation were our leaders are being disempowered. We shall look at that and get back to you and if there is need to change the law, we shall do that because we cannot have our people cut off from communication.”
In August last year, government together with telecommunication companies and legislators reached consensus to stay the usage of airtime scratch cards to allow for gradual phasing out of the cards as the process of sensitizing the public on the Easy Load system carries on.
During a dialogue between the Minister Frank Tumwebaze, telecom companies and UCC Executive Director, Godfrey Mutabazi and Speaker Kadaga, an agreement was reached to have scratch cards printed and circulated.
However, since then, no further action has been taken to circulate more scratch cards. This is what has now prompted the Speaker to summon the UCC boss to appear on Wednesday.
The ban on the use of scratch cards was implemented on July 31 last year by the telecom companies following a directive from the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC).
In explaining the basis for banning the scratch cards, Minister Tumwebaze said the cards were a security threat having discovered that these cards were untraceable and aiding the use of unregistered simcards.
According to the Minister, the use of electronic recharge systems was therefore recommended as “the most viable and secure option, with so many other attendant advantages”.