KARACHI: As the Sindh government is planning to introduce a new biometric system of registration and transfer of vehicles, more than 300,000 owners have been waiting for the issuance of their vehicle’s official number plates since 2016 despite depositing over Rs300 million to the exchequer.

The issue came to the light during a meeting held recently between car dealers/importers and officials of the excise and taxation department.

The meeting discussed the backlog of the number plates in the province and the excise officials assured the former that they would discuss it with the National Radio Telecommunication Corporation (NRTC) and hopefully the issue would be resolved by next month.

The excise department had already collected Rs1,000 from each vehicle owner at the time of registration. For 300,000 vehicles, the excise department had collected more than Rs300 million

Automotive Traders and Importers Association (ATIA) chief coordinator Aijaz Ahmed, who was present in the meeting, told Dawn that non-issuance of the number plates had been lingering since 2016 and become a serious problem for car buyers.

Govt planning to introduce biometric system of registration, transfer of vehicles

A senior excise and taxation official told Dawn that vehicles’ number plates with new design had been approved and the backlog issue would be ended in March.

He said the biometric system of registration and transfer of vehicles would be introduced at a later stage soon.

Mr Ahmed of ATIA said new number plates with Sindh’s traditional Ajrak’s border on top of it were coming with increased rates of Rs1,800 instead of Rs1,000.

The new number plates will have many new features to ensure safety against damage and security. They will have uniquely identified laser serial numbers of minimum seven digits. Laser numbers could not be removed from the reflective sheet while the plates would be readable in the reflection of light during dark hours.

New system with Nadra’s help

Mr Ahmed said car dealers/importers gave a number of proposals in the meeting and the excise department had agreed to implement them.

About the new biometric system, he said it was discussed that vehicle owners would be able to give a thumb impression to all the motor registration authorities for new registration and transfer transactions. Thumb impressions can also be recorded on the mega centres, facilitation outlets or e-Sahulat franchises of the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra).

After acquiring the possession of vehicles, he said the car dealers could also register their thumb impressions as purchaser, which would be valid for 60 days (transitory period).

In case of a new registration, a vehicle owner could directly provide registration consent via verifying his thumb impression at any Nadra facility/excise office, he added.

In case of sale of any vehicle (already registered) prior to the launch of the biometric verification system, the vehicle would be verified with buyers’ fingerprint impression only.

He said that in case of sale of any biometrically verified registered/transferred vehicle, the current vehicle owner would record biometric verification individually and the motor dealer licence holder would record a thumb impression of a seller at the time of actualisation of the vehicle sale.

He said it was discussed that there should be a link between the excise and taxation department with the local assemblers regarding verification of documents of vehicles on a computerised system.

That system might be adopted in future while the auction vehicles should also be linked with a computerised system, he added.

Mr Ahmed said the dealers pointed out that there should be a link with the excise department and the local vehicles’ manufacturers regarding verification of documents on a computerised system.

He said the participants of the meeting had agreed with the idea of data sharing, which would provide more transparency and consistency in the motor vehicle registration (MVR) operations.

It was highlighted that the existing computer system had become outdated and should be replaced with a new system.

The excise officials told the meeting that a software revamping project was already under initial phases of procurement.

A dealer of the Indus Motor Company (IMC) said that all the dealers of Toyota had been doing biometric verification of vehicles relating to booking and delivery with the help of Nadra for the last two months on their own.

Published in Dawn, February 27th, 2022

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