Kenyan motorists are set to start acquiring new digital number plates from January 2020. Each owner of a car, a bus, a lorry or a pickup will pay Sh3,000 for the new plates which come with a microchip that can be machine-read remotely.
This has been revealed by Correctional Services Principal Secretary Zainab Hussein. The National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) said it will directly issue a fresh tender to circumvent a legal hitch that blocked the Prisons department from picking a firm to supply the digital number plates.
“We have sent a team to go to three countries to design a system that uses our own local material to produce the securitised digitised new generation number plates by January 2020,” Ms Hussein told the National Assembly Committee on Administration and National Security.
Through the computerised number plates that have anti-counterfeit features including holograms, watermarks, and laser markers, police will trace information on particular vehicles and their owners.
In April this year, it was announced that Kenyan motorists will pay the government over Sh. 9 billion to acquire new high-tech vehicle number plates set to replace the current ones in the financial year starting July.
The NTSA earlier said it is not part of legal suit filed by one of the losing bidders for the contract to supply the new plates, arguing that this frees it to launch a fresh tender.
Ugandan firm, MIG International was awarded the Sh. 2 billion number plate supply deal in 2015 alongside Germany’s Hoffman International. But the Public Procurement Administrative and Review Board (PPARB) annulled the tender following an appeal by Tropical Technologies.
The board ordered the Kenya Prisons Service to carry out the tendering process afresh, forcing MIG to sue. The new generation number plates were supposed to be rolled out in September 2015 to curb crime. The push for the smart plates comes in the wake of increased duplication of the current ones by tax- evasion cartels and criminals.