TRANSPORT minister Felix Mhona has told Senate that government is working with the Higher and Tertiary Education ministry to come up with locally-made vehicle registration plates in order to cut down on the import bill.
Currently, there is a backlog in the production of vehicle plates as the materials used for their manufacture are imported from Germany.
“Firstly, number plates are not accessible to many people because they are paid for in foreign currency, which becomes a difficulty for many Zimbabweans,” the Transport minister said.
“I want to inform this august Senate that there are plans to ensure that number plates are accessible in the country. Security measures should be put in place so that some people will not get the number plates using corrupt ways. Therefore, we are trying to ensure that the number plates that are manufactured have security features.
“Our university students are also working with the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education to see if they can make the number plates which can raise our flag so that we stop importing and they will be accessible in this country. I believe that we are going to announce the stage we have reached with tertiary institutions on the issue of making number plates,” he said.
Chiefs Council president Fortune Charumbira then suggested that if birth certificates and identity cards were locally produced with all the requisite security features, the same should apply to vehicle registration plates.
Last year, Central Vehicle Registry registrar George Makoni told the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Transport that due to lack of foreign currency in the country, there was a huge backlog of plus or minus 57 000 vehicles that needed new plates.
Makoni said more than US$1 million was needed to manufacture a set of new plates at a cost of US$80 each to clear the backlog.
Vehicle plates have five security features, making them very difficult for thieves to produce counterfeit copies.