Uproar as Uganda government announces charges for new digital number plates

Cars on Mengo Hill Road, Kampala. The government is set to roll out the new digital number plates in July.

Cars on Mengo Hill Road, Kampala. The government is set to roll out the new digital number plates in July (PHOTO/Courtesy)

KAMPALA – A section of Ugandans has accused the central government of being inconsiderate and insensitive to their plight following revelations that it plans to charge motorists UGX735000 for digital number plates.

According to the government, effective July 2023, the registration of new as well as replacement of all old government of Uganda number plates for vehicles and motorcycles will each cost UGX735000 ($200).

This is contained in a February 15 circular issued by Mr. Ramadhan Ggoobi, the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Finance, Planning, and Economic Development and Secretary to the Treasury.

But Simon Kaheru, a journalist and businessman, wonders how the government came up with the tax.

“This story doesn’t pass. Who else uses this techno? To what end? Why, when one does an internet search, do we mostly see Uganda & Kenya? Is this government revenue or private revenue? “The Company” appears too late in the tale,” he said.

One Liz Abwooli tweeted: “My God! Where in the world are you paying $200 for a plate? Not a license or permit, but a plate?! And a GPS tracker on them?! Hello, privacy infringement, anyone! How are human rights activists and lawyers….or Ugandans not all over this?”

Matovu Robert tweeted: “Ugandan U digital number plate UGX735000 yet I already paid for my number plate. When will double taxation end in Uganda I think this would be free for all registered number plates.”

Rashid Kisekka tweeted: “Everything is all about revenue to this government not service delivery or impacts to the population.”

Musa Musoke: “It’s absurd that someone sits somewhere and just comes up with a figure without any justification, not all Ugandans are dumb.”

The payment rule is contained in the Traffic and Road Safety Regulations 2022 under statutory instrument number 49.

Mr. Ggoobi said the new number plates will be enhanced with stronger security identification features.

“Accounting officers are advised to make adequate provisions under the item for vehicle maintenance to cater for the cost of new registration and the change of the existing number plates for both motor vehicles and motorcycles in their respective votes,” he said.

Uganda is estimated to have close to 2.4 million vehicles and more than 1.4 million motorcycles and if each of them is registered afresh, the government will rake in up to Shs2.8 trillion.

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