Boda Bodas, Motorists To Folk Shs713,400 As Works Ministry  Finally Launches Digital Number Plates

Boda Bodas, Motorists To Folk Shs713,400 As Works Ministry Finally Launches Digital Number Plates

By Andrew Irumba

Kampala: The Ministry of Works and transport Transport together with the  Ministry of Security have today 1st November, 2023 launched the Intelligent Transport Monitoring System (ITMS) Project that will see Ugandan vehicles reregistered and fitted with Electronic Number Plates and shall be synchronized with security electronic devices capable of indicating the real time of the vehicle’s location.

Intelligent Transport Monitoring System, an effort which is being jointly led by the two government ministries aims to reshape vehicle security & criminal control in the country. The basis of the ITMS is the thorough registration of all Ugandan motor vehicles and Motorcycles.

According to the Minister for Works and Transport Gen. Edward Katumba Wamala, the Project will deter theft of motor vehicles & vehicle related criminality through enhanced traceability, tracking & real-time feedback from the Uganda Police force as the command center. It will also discourage reckless driving due to monitoring thru the CCTV Camera network enhancing enforcement.

During the official launch that took place at the Ministry of works offices along port bell road in Kampala, a cross section of vehicles belonging to the Office of The President, Uganda Police, and Ministry of works have been selected to launch the ITMS Project with full rollout of the exercise expected to commence on 1st February 2024.

The vehicles with current old license plates will also follow suit and there will be a transition period of two years after which, motorists without digital number plates on their vehicles will be fined with over 100 currency points  equivalent to shs2 million or jailed or both.

“The transition period will be two years to convert to the new regime of licensing of vehicles with digital number plates. If a person fails to convert or update their number plate within the given window, the penalty is a fine not exceeding 100 currency points or imprisonment not exceeding one year or both,” Eng. Karim Kibuuka, the principal vehicle inspector in the Ministry of Works and Transport.

Kibuuka, however warned that tampering with the digital number plates of electronic chips there is will be punishable by law.

“No person shall be allowed to tamper with the chip or its functionality. In case of accidental tampering for example during repairs or if a vehicle hits pothole, this should be reported within 24 hours to the chief licensing officer at the Ministry of Works,” he said.

He further noted that the System has been designed in such a way that if anyone tampers with the number plates, the system will be alerted.

“The number plates will only be removed, for example in case of doing repairs upon seeking authorization from the chief licensing officer and for a justifiable cause. If the plate is removed from any other point other than the licensed and accredited garage it will be an offence.” he noted.

New vehicle and motorcycle owners will pay shs714,000 for the digital number plates while already registered road users will be required to pay shs150,000 and shs50,000 for vehicles and motorcycles respectively.

Commenting on the hiked prices of acquiring the new digital number plates, Minister for Security Jim Muhwezi noted that the Ministry of Finance participated in the financial model that dictated the price of the new digital number plates.

“Government is not putting a shilling in this project but the investor is putting all his money in it and he has to recover it,” he said,  adding that the government will receive a share of the non-tax revenue generated after the 10-year period further imploring Ugandans to look at benefits that come with the system instead of the cost.

According to Muhwezi, the project that commenced today shall begin with Kampala because that is where most of the vehicles are and it is where most of the crime is committed and the project will be rolled out to the rest of the country in a phased manner.

The different categories of number plates provided for under the Traffic and Road Safety (Registration Plates) Regulations 2023 will improve the registration of vehicles under all Gov’t Ministries, Departments & Agencies due to the unique codes given to each.

The digital number plate will use RFID (radio frequency identification) tagging which will store vehicle-specific information such as insurance, tax, and journey records and will serve as a means of instant identification, tracking, and monitoring.

Activists have since expressed concern about privacy, saying security services could misuse the system which allows 24/7 monitoring of motorists however both President Museveni and two ministries undertaking the project  have assured Ugandans that the government is not interested in the private lives of motorists but countering crime, especially terrorism.

The Intelligent Transport Monitoring System is to be implemented in a phased manner and will be managed by Joint Stock Company Global Security for 10 years, before it is handed over to government.

The Russian firm contracted to install tracking devices in motor vehicles and motorcycles will manufacture the devices at a factory yet to be set up in Bugolobi a Kampala suburb.

In July last year, the Government signed a 10 year contract with the firm to provide digital vehicle trackers for motor vehicles and motorcycles in a bid to curb insecurity.

The proposal was first introduced by President Museveni in his 10 point security measure in the wake of gun violence in the country that saw several Ugandans killed in 2018.

The other security measures included installation of cameras, capturing palm prints and DNA prints, and banning of hoodies among others. an accessible web community

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