A Russian company, Joint Stock Company Global Security, has introduced digital number plates in Uganda. The project was officially launched, with the initial phase focusing on government-owned vehicles. New vehicle and motorcycle owners will be required to pay UGX 714,000 for these innovative number plates, while exchanging existing plates will cost UGX 150,000 for motor vehicles and UGX 50,000 for motorcycles.
The concept of digital number plates gained prominence after President Museveni, during his 2021 State-of-the-Nation address, instructed the Works and Security ministries to implement them. The primary objective behind this initiative is to enhance the tracking of criminals who use vehicles and motorcycles.
The project is under the supervision of the ministries of Works and Transport, as well as the Ministry of Security. During the official launch, Gen Edward Katumba Wamala, the Minister of Works and Transport, explained that the decision to commence the roll-out with government vehicles was made during a meeting held on October 24. This approach is intended to set an example for the public.
A selection of government vehicles from the Office of the President, Uganda Police, and the Ministry of Works and Transport were chosen to receive the new digital number plates. It’s worth noting that the initial implementation deadline of July 1 was missed due to various challenges, including logistical issues, leading to a postponement.
The agreement for the digital number plates project was signed between the Ugandan government and the Russian Company M/s Joint Stock Company Global Security in July 2021. This project involves the installation of Global Positioning System (GPS) chips in vehicles, and the expenses for this will be borne by the vehicle owners.
Notably, the Ugandan government did not provide funding for this project. Instead, Joint Stock Company Global Security is financing it. Maj Gen Jim Muhwezi, the Security Minister, emphasized that the company would recover its investment over a ten-year period. The involvement of the Ministry of Finance was essential to develop a sustainable financial model for the project, ensuring it would not burden the citizens.
Government officials have pledged to address any concerns the public may have regarding the implementation of digital number plates. This project represents a significant step forward in enhancing vehicle tracking and security in Uganda.