The Ugandan government has unveiled plans for a widespread implementation of digital number plates, slated for October. The primary focus initially will be on public education and awareness campaigns to underscore the significance of this service in bolstering road safety and security.
Initial Timeline and Delayed Supply
Originally scheduled for a launch on July 1, 2023, the introduction of digital number plates aimed to contribute to crime reduction within the country. However, the appointed supplier, Joint Stock Company Global Security, encountered delays in delivering the required digital number plates.
Functionality and Benefits
The digital number plates will incorporate RFID (radio frequency identification) technology, facilitating the storage of vehicle-specific data such as insurance details, taxation records, and journey histories. This innovation will serve as a tool for instantaneous identification, real-time tracking, and continuous monitoring.
Privacy Concerns and Cost
The process of registering and affixing digital number plates onto motorcycles and vehicles will carry a cost of Shs 735,000 ($200) per unit, according to Treasury Secretary Ramadan Ggoobi. Local residents have expressed reservations about the pricing, perceiving it as being relatively high.
Activists have raised privacy concerns, fearing that security agencies could potentially misuse the system, enabling round-the-clock surveillance of motorists. However, Ugandan President Museveni has assured that the government’s focus is on countering crime, particularly terrorism, and not on intruding into the private lives of vehicle owners.
The forthcoming implementation of digital number plates in Uganda reflects a dual commitment to enhancing road safety and security while addressing concerns around privacy and cost.