President Museveni has emphasized the importance of the digital number plates project for tracking criminals who often use motor vehicles or motorcycles for their activities. He insists that despite disagreements among government agencies involved in the project, it must proceed.
The President believes that digital number plates will significantly aid in combating crime in the country. He emphasized that closing the gap in tracking vehicles and motorcycles used in criminal activities is crucial. Cameras will play a pivotal role in this endeavor, capturing movements to and from crime scenes. Museveni urged the resolution of disputes surrounding the project.
The digital number plate project will be overseen by a Russian company called Joint Stock Company Global Security. It is a part of Uganda’s Intelligent Transport Monitoring System (ITMS), aimed at enhancing efficiency in the transportation and security sectors.
Originally slated to commence earlier this year, the project faced delays due to issues on the contractor’s side. It is now scheduled to launch in November. The transition from traditional number plates to digital ones will cost vehicle owners Shs150,000 and motorcycle owners Shs50,000.
However, coordination challenges persist among government ministries and agencies responsible for project implementation. Minister of Internal Affairs, Maj Gen (rtd) Kahinda Otafiire, expressed his lack of knowledge about the project’s operational details and raised concerns about its feasibility. He noted that the Russian company’s plan to produce digital number plates in Poland, amidst tensions between Russia and Ukraine, further complicated matters.
Members of Parliament shared apprehensions about the collection of Ugandans’ movement data potentially falling into the wrong hands or being misused to target political opponents.
The Russian company had installed computers at the police CCTV command center to access essential data for the project, but Maj Gen Otafiire directed the police to deactivate them due to contractual conflicts with Chinese company Huawei, responsible for the CCTV cameras’ installation.
President Museveni held a meeting with Huawei leaders, although details of their discussions remain undisclosed.
Uganda Revenue Authority Commissioner General, Mr. John Musinguzi, raised concerns about the high cost of Shs714,000 for a number plate, particularly for ordinary vehicle owners. He also noted that tax collectors lacked information about the revenue-sharing arrangements related to the number plates.