Uganda: Minister Otafiire unaware of Russian digital number plate firm
Jul 30, 2023
The Minister for Internal Affairs, Maj. Gen, (Rtd) Kahinda Otafiire, has said he has no knowledge of the company, Joint Stock Company Global Security that is supposed to undertake the issuance of digital number plates in Uganda.
He revealed this to the Committee on Physical Infrastructure on Tuesday, 22 August 2023.
Hon. Jonathan Ebwalu (Indep., Soroti West Division) asked the minister about his knowledge of the contract with the company to supply the digital number plates.
“How did this company from Russia come to Uganda, who signed the contract with them? The minister said he does not know but he should be responsible,” Ebwalu said.
Otafiire responded saying he would have taken responsibility if he had been a signatory on the contract, which he insisted he knew nothing about.
“This thing started in 2019, I am just a cog in the whole machine. I do not know who is doing what. What is disappointing is that the Police who would have been the principal actor was largely kept out,” he added.
Otafiire also told the committee that he authorised a team to carry out due diligence on the Joint Stock Company Global Security and its station in Russia.
“The team brought back a report and informed me that there were no digital number plate manufacturing companies in Russia and that such a service is only being provided in Poland,” said the minister.
Asked by Hon. Maurice Kibalya (NRM, Bugabula County South) about his knowledge of the company setting up fitting centres at different bonds in the country, the minister said he was not aware about it.
“Are you aware that this Joint Stock Company is also phasing out local companies that have been manufacturing number plates?” Kibalya asked.
Otafiire said the Inspectorate of Government (IGG) halted the decision to phase out local number plate making companies in Uganda.
“The IGG is supposed to have halted the whole project. The IGG instructed the Ministry of Works not to halt the production of number plates,” he noted.
Asked by committee chairperson, Hon. Dan Atwijukire on whether he had documentation to the effect of the information, the minister only attributed it to “…information that amounts from the press.”
Hon. Ebwalu faulted the minister for his lack of knowledge on the project being investigated by the committee.
“The ministry has got very many departments including Police, Prisons and Immigration. I cannot know every single detail in every department. I am a macro manager not a micro manager,” Otafiire responded.
The digital number plate project under the Intelligent Transport Monitoring System will be implemented in a phased manner and managed by Joint Stock Company Global Security for 10 years before it is handed over to government.
New vehicle and motorcycle owners will pay shs714,000 for the digital number plates while already registered road users will be required to pay shs150,000 and shs50,000 for vehicles and motorcycles.
However, the Tororo District Woman Representative, Hon. Sarah Opendi has petitioned Parliament on the high cost of the new number plates expected to be rolled out on 31 October 2023.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Parliament of the Republic of Uganda.
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