HOME Affairs Deputy Minister Hamad Masauni has directed the National Identification Authority (NIDA) to work 16 hours a day to speed up the issuance of national IDs to Tanzanians.
The directive comes while only 17 days are left to beat the January 20 biometric SIM card registration deadline.
Speaking during his visit to NIDA offices at Kibaha, Coast Region on Friday, Mr Masauni said that his decision to extend the working hours from eight to sixteen was due to the shortage of staff working in the IDs processing department.
“I have decided to extend the working hours after visiting the department and learnt that it has few staff who work for a short time while there are many citizens in need of the IDs so that they can register their SIM cards,” he said.
He said there would be neither weekends nor public holidays for NIDA staff working in the IDs department.
Mr Masauni also directed NIDA to deploy additional workforce to fast truck the issuance of IDs, especially at this time when there is a high demand of IDs for biometric SIM card registration.
NIDA Director General Dr Anold Kihaule assured the deputy minister that his offices in all districts were working tirelessly to ensure the exercise was completed on time.
He said that his office was working 24 hours a day, including weekends, and they had opened a registration centre at Mnazi Mmoja grounds since December 22 with the aim of moving the services closer to the public.
Earlier, the government had set December 31 this year as the deadline for phone users to have biometrically registered their Sim cards, but on December 27, President Magufuli gave additional time to those who would fail to complete the process within the given time due to various reasons.
Before Dr Magufuli announced the deadline extension, a spot check by the ‘Daily News’ in various National Identification Authority (NIDA) offices found a good number of people following up their national identification numbers so that they can register their lines.
Dr Magufuli extended the deadline from January 1 to 20 this year, directing Tanzania Communication Regulatory Authority (TCRA) to switch off all unregistered lines thereafter.
He cautioned that all Tanzanians should ensure they register their Sim cards biometrically because there would be no excuse after the deadline expires.
He explained that biometric Sim cards registration was crucial for the country’s safety and will help in the fight against criminal acts such as conning and theft.