Kampala City Traders Association (KACITA) has lashed out at the government over its decision reached upon to implement digital number plates on vehicles and motorcycles.
This followed a decision by the government to roll out digital number plates with each car owner set to pay Shs735, 000 to acquire one.
Speaking before journalists at his offices in Kampala, Musoke Thadeus Nagenda the chairperson of KACITA, noted that as traders they are worried about the move by the government to roll out the digital number plates on 1st July 2023.
Musoke said having thoroughly analyzed and studied what the new registration process entails, the consumers of the service and all the players in the chain think the decision was rushed.
“There hasn’t been any sensitization of consumers and stakeholders. We realized that were no stakeholder engagements at most levels. The 1st July 2023 implementation date is too soon. If implemented, this will cause a lot of business stampede as well public outcry,” Nagenda said.
KACITA also raised concerns over the “abnormal cost” of the digital number plates and the rationale for the payment gap that they say is unfair.
“We have noticed that the new cost will be more expensive compared to that of regional neighbours like Kenya where number plates cost Ksh 3,000 (Shs80, 000) for motor vehicles and Kshs 1,500 (Shs40, 000) for motorcycles yet they bear the same security features.
Comparison on the costs per plate from Shs125, 000 to Shs713, 000 for motorcycles and from Shs137, 000 to Shs713, 000 for motor vehicles raises the overall cost of the unit and this is so ridiculous,” Nagenda said.
Some of the dealers in this line of business to be affected by this development of new digital number plates include:
- Motor vehicle dealers and importers.
- Bonded warehouse owners.
- Motorcycle importers.
- Automobile assemblers and manufacturers.
- Asset financing companies in the transport and logistics sector.
- Fleet management companies.
- Clearing and forwarding entities.
- Drivers and riders.
The traders as well asked to know the breakdown of the Shs735, 000 for each digital number plate to be undertaken by the Russian company, M/S Joint Stock Company Global Security.
They claim that there is also no proven track record where this company has carried the same project successfully yet they have credible local potential service providers that would do the same, without defeating the BUBU initiative.
“This compromises the national image and a potential ticking time bomb in case they fail to deliver, and to mention capital flight and repatriation.”
KACITA suggest that this project be implemented in a phased manner beginning with government vehicles and motorcycles. It can then be made voluntary to the public from which the full enrollment can be effected.
Nagenda further asked that the cost of the number plates should not be more than Shs200, 000 for a new one on motor vehicles and Shs130, 000 for motorcycles and the replacement fee maintained at Shs50, 000 for all categories.
In a February 15 circular, Ramadhan Ggoobi, the Permanent Secretary and Secretary to the Treasury of the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, announced the Shs735, 000 for acquiring new number plates.
Ggoobi said the government has concluded the process of gazetting the Traffic and Road Safety Regulations 2022 and under statutory instruments number 49, the registration of the new number plates, with enhanced and stronger security identification features, will kick off in July.