• To be renewed every five years
KIGALI - The long awaited electronic driving licenses are finally out for distribution. Drivers and top government officials thronged the National Identification Project offices yesterday for the launch and also to pick their driving licenses.
The Minister of Infrastructure Eng. Linda Bihire was the first Rwandan to receive a driving license followed by the ICT Minister in the President’s Office Prof. Romain Murenzi. Several other ministers followed in the queue presenting their payment receipts and picking their licenses.
“These new electronic driving licenses match international standards and can not easily be duplicated or forged in any way; ‘‘this is a good reference of the proper service delivery that we want in our country,” said Bihire during the function.
Similar identification projects have been tried in several countries but failed and according to Bihire, much applause should be directed to whoever took part in the success of the project.
The process of registering for the electronic driving licenses started in the last quarter of 2008 and later followed by verification of data. The licenses are plastic in form and have a built-in data bar that contains all details of the holder.
According to acting Commissioner General of Police, Mary Gahonzire, the new licenses have come at a time when there were many forged permits in circulation across the country.
“Since the new permits can not easily be duplicated, this will help reduce the forged licenses that are in circulation.”
She added that besides verifying if someone is capable of driving, drivers who possess the license and commit any offense can easily be traced since all data on the national ID and driving license are recorded.
Initially there were 71,830 legally registered driving licenses across the country, out of those 24,000 persons have registered for the new licenses and they will be picking their licenses from police stations at the district level.
“The old licenses will be out of use after one year while the new license will have to be renewed every five years.”
She added: “The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Local Government who also chairs the National Identification Cards Steering Committee, Eugene Barikana, hailed the process and said that the country will soon move to the second phase of smart cards.
The first phase was issuing both national IDs and driving licenses.
The process of issuing driving licenses delayed, and according to Barikana, the cause of the delay was coordination of efforts. He however requested Bihire to propose to the cabinet an extension of the project’s mandate.
The technology of the cards was sold to Rwanda by a Belgian based company, De-La-rue that is globally known for efficient security systems.