The cost of the new number plates that are expected to be rolled out later in the year were a result of a financial model used for their pricing. .
The Minister for Security, Hon. Jim Muhwezi made the revelation while appearing before the Committee on Physical Infrastructure on Tuesday, 08 August 2023.
Muhwezi, said 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.
Muhwezi and the Works and Transport Minister, Gen. Katumba Wamala were before the committee chaired by Hon. Dan Atwijukire.
The committee is considering a petition by Tororo District Woman Representative, Hon. Sarah Opendi on the high cost of the new number plates.
New vehicle and motorcycle owners will be pay shs714,000 for the the digital number plates while already registered road users will be required to pay shs150,000 and shs50,000 for vehicles and motorcycles.
The Intelligent Transport Monitoring System (ITMS) 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.
Muhwezi also revealed that the project will commence its rollout on 31 October 2023.
“We shall begin with Kampala and because that is where most of the vehicles are and it is where most of the crime is committed. We shall rollout out to the rest of the country in a phased manner,” the minister added.
According to Winston Katushabe, the Commissioner for Transport Regulation and Safety at the Ministry of Works and Transport, government will receive a share of the non-tax revenue generated over the 10-year period.
He added that a financial model covering the total investment of the Intelligent Transport Monitoring System, including selling number plates and traffic fines, informed the pricing of the new digital number plates.
“Even when it was not a security issue, government had already started initiating a new regime of replacing these number plates. Here we have a total solution where the number plate has a tracker for security purposes,” said Katushabe.
Opendi said the cost of the new digital number plates is prohibitive to road users.
“Why are we not using Ugandan companies that are already printing number plates? I am aware that these number plates will be imported and maybe that is why they are so costly,” said Opendi.
Hon. Patrick Oshabe (NUP, Kassanda County North) reiterated that the cost of the digital plates is too high for ordinary Ugandans.
“I do not know why the ministry does not take into consideration that the people they are bringing the technology to, cannot afford it. If I already have a number plate, why charge me shs50,000? Leave Ugandans and just replace the number plates” said Oshabe.
Hon. Atwijukire tasked the ministers to present documentation showing the process of generating the charge for the digital number plates.
“The cost of a motorcycle is about shs5 million and if one pays for it on a loan period of about three years, it brings the total to about shs8 million. If you add the cost of the digital plate, it will cover 20 per cent of such a cost which is too high,” said Atwijukire.
Hon. Nathan Byanyima (NRM, Bukanga North County) expressed reservations about how government will benefit from the non-tax revenue to be generated after the project has been rolled out.
Susan Kataike, the Head of Communications at the Ministry of Works and Transport said they are implementing a communication strategy to sensitize stakeholders and the public on the rollout of the Intelligent Transport Monitoring System and what it entails.