Digital vehicle number plates set for January


Imported cars at the port of Mombasa.The new generation number plates were supposed to be rolled out in September 2015 to curb crime. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Motorists will from January acquire new high-tech vehicle number plates after the government sought designs from three undisclosed countries.

Correctional Services Principal Secretary Zainab Hussein told Parliament that the State targets to replace the current plates by January with motorists expected to pay Sh3,000 for each.

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 smart 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.

The push for the smart plates comes in the wake of increased duplication of the current ones by tax- evasion cartels and criminals.

Kenya had 2.98 million vehicles on its roads — including motorcycles and trailers — in 2017 translating to about Sh9 billion new number plate acquisition fees.

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.

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 Sh2 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.