The much awaited local production of vehicle number plates is expected to commence by 31 March 2022 following the signing of a contract between a consortium of local tertiary institutions and a Polish company, Utal (Pvt) Ltd on 2 November 2021, a contact within the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development (MoHTESTD) has revealed.
Local Universities and colleges will tap on local resources and skills to develop a system that will easy the shortage of vehicle number plates, create a new generation vehicle registration system that will improve driving standards and prevent fraud among other aspired outcomes.
According to the contact, Utal (Pvt) Ltd is expected to supply machinery and consumables worth a total of US$1 067 254 by January 2022, for the setting up of a plant by the tertiary institutions to produce the plates locally. The plant, including the embossing station, is expected to cost US$453 688 while consumables which include 300 000 blank plates will need US$533 566.
The contact revealed that Utal won the tender in July 2021, which was flighted on 10 April 2021 after other bidders were disqualified as they presented third parties. Utchi, a Germany company was also compliant but lost the bid to Utal.
The contact went on to reveal that a technical and business due diligence of Utal was carried out by representatives of the consortium together with representatives from MoHTESTD and Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development (MoTID) in Poland in September 2021, and representatives of the consortium are expected to do a pre-shipment inspection as soon as a deposit of US$200 000 is paid.
Government in 2020 proposed the idea of producing number plates locally, a development which will see the country save more than US$800 000 it spends per year for importation of number plates. The project entails manufacturing the number plates locally using the same material used on imported ones and with similar security features at a cost of US$5.63 per pair, cheaper than those imported at a cost of US$11.07 per pair. Local production of number plates will not only reduce the cost of number plates and save foreign currency but will also create employment.