Uganda: Minister Anite Insists On ‘Mandatory’ Uganda Telecom Limited Simcards

  • The Minister for Investment and Privatisation, Evelyn Anite, has defended her remarks that having Uganda Telecom simcards will become mandatory just like having a national identity card.

The State minister for Investment and Privatisation, Evelyn Anite has defended her remarks that having a Uganda Telecom (UTL) Simcards will become mandatory just like having a national identity card for all Ugandans.

Speaking at a press conference on the sidelines of the 3rd Kampala Private Equity Conference in Kampala today, Anite insisted that owning a UTL Simcard is a sign of patriotism and show of support to the country.

Minister Anite said it is important that government institutions and officials, in particular, and Ugandans in general, have UTL Simcards.

“All the government officers, all the offices that are government owned, they must, as you know right now, they are, maybe 99% of them are all connected to UTL. We know Ugandans are of the habit of having two to three phones, so we are just urging them that if we make UTL to be very strong and we give all the financial support, which we are doing.

Then, it is only prudent that as a Ugandan, you must have a communication line that is state-owned so as to support your country. That is the sense of patriotism, for you to love what is yours. I know you want to twist it the other way but don’t”, she said.

Yesterday while officiating at a blood donation drive by Uganda Telecom, minister Evelyn Anite said soon it will be mandatory for Ugandans to own UTL Simcards in the spirit of patriotism. The remarks have since drawn debate and mostly mockery from Ugandans especially on social media.

Critics wondered how the policy would be implemented in a free market economy commanded by forces of demand and supply. Proponents of the move say a strong UTL would generate lots of revenue for the country, citing MTN and Airtel, the leading mobile telephone operators that repatriate hundreds of billions of shillings annually.

The government took over UTL after the abrupt withdrawal of the Libyan majority shareholders early this year, leaving it with debt of close to one trillion shillings. The company has since been put under administration.