Traders Ask Gov’t to Delay Digital Number Plate Rollout for a Year

Various traders, together with the Kampala city traders’ Associations – KACITA, want the government to extend the rollout of the digital number plates, at least for one year.

This call has come at a time, when the national rollout of the use of these number plates, is just 10 days away. The government set 1st July 2023, as the rollout date to start the use of this automotive technology.

In 2021, the government contracted a Russian company, Joint Stock Company Global Security, on a 10-year deal to install digital tracking chips in all auto mobile number plates registered in the country, and this was on security grounds, under the Intelligent Transport Management Systems program.

The program was supposed to be in three phases, starting with government vehicles, then newly registered ones, and later the old ones which are already on the road, and to acquire the digital plate, motorists have to pay up to USD 200 for these new plates.

While addressing journalists about the issue, Thaddeus Musoke, the KACITA acting chairperson said that there is a need for sensitization of the masses about this new program, something that has not been done, adding that the government should also reconsider the pricing of these plates, because the cost is higher in Uganda compared to that in the region and there is no explanation why.

Musoke also cited many inconsistencies in the program, which he says will affect the livelihood of many Ugandans, because the implementation guidelines and regulations of this program, phase out many jobs and businesses, adding that they have even prepared to petition the parliament, the ministries of works, finance, and that of trade.

From the same meeting, Marvin Ayebare, of the used car Dealers association, says that as part of the stakeholders, they have severally engaged the responsible government agencies, but little has been achieved. He adds that though they agree with the essence of the digital plates, their concern is about the implementation.

According to Ayebare, even the car dealers who have been at the forefront of pushing for this program are not equipped with the required knowledge of the topic yet they receive daily questions about the issue of cost, because it is inconsistent with existing automobiles registration regulations.

Micheal Blair Ntambi, on behalf of SafeBoda and E-traders and Startups Association of Uganda, says that it is unfair for the government to roll out the Traffic and Road safety digital registration regulations 2022 when the masses are losing out in the process.

According to Ntambi,  the digital plates, have tracking chips that will avail a person’s whereabouts at any time in real-time, and also one’s bio-data infringes on one’s right to privacy, which is granted by the Constitution.

He adds that this regulation contravenes many laws in Uganda, and it is very unclear and full of mistakes which will cost a lot to small-scale businesses, and the entire Ugandan population.

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