By A Correspondent- Government has acknowledged that shortage of vehicle number plates countrywide is causing inconveniences to motorists who are sometimes arrested for driving unregistered cars.
Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Felix Mhona said the shortage of number plates is caused by the fact that the country imports them.
Minister Mhona said this in response to MDC-A Makoni Central MP Mr David Tekeshe who had asked him what Government was doing to address the number plates problem during the Wednesday’s Question and Answer session in the National Assembly.
Mr Tekeshe said it was worrying that police were arresting motorists for driving cars without number plates when the problem lies with the department responsible for their issuance.
Minister Mhona said Government is working to address the shortage of number plates.
“Yes, it is true that the issue of number plates has caused havoc in our country. The number plates that we use in this country are imported which means we need foreign currency to buy the number plates” he said.
Minister Mhona however, said what was encouraging was that the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development, Prof Amon Murwira was working with students from various universities to solve the issue of number plates.
“So in the near future I believe the Minister will be coming to this House with good news that number plates are now being manufactured locally thereby improving supply of the number plates and also saving foreign currency,” he said.
Minister Mhona said Government departments need to reach a consensus to avoid inconveniencing motorists.
“The issue that he has raised also touches on the Ministry of Home Affairs, but as he has said, I would like to propose that the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development work together with the Ministry of Home Affairs so that we have a way forward in resolving this issue, so that people with cars that have temporary number plates can move on our roads freely,” said Minister Mhona.
He said the country was also losing a lot of revenue as unregistered vehicles were not remitting any tax to the country.
“The number plates that are given when entering into the country are not the same with the number plates that are then put on the vehicle. Furthermore, these temporary plates are not good for our economy because if a car has temporary number plates, that car is not registered and as such does not pay the fees. When the car is finally issued with our number plates, that is when the Government benefits especially the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development, through registration fees. It is our wish to start manufacturing these number plates locally as soon as possible,” he said.-statemedia