Ronald Kazibwe was planning to buy a Land Cruiser but he did not have enough money to get one from the bond. But luckily, one of the United Nations Agencies in Uganda was disposing of vehicles so he managed to get one cheaply.
However, his fear was in changing the number plate. “I thought it would be a long process. However, when I went to URA, they told me what I needed and how much I had to pay and within two weeks, I had my car with a civilian’s number plate,” he explains.
Just like Kazibwe, most people’s fear in buying cars from organisations is because there are different types of motor vehicle number plates used in Uganda. There is a type used by civilians, another type used by non-governmental organisations and a different type for government ministries and those that are used by government-owned organisations. To some extent, they can be confusing, especially when it comes to who is eligible to use a given number plate and where they can get it. Patrick Mpairwe, the Uganda Revenue Authority supervisor, Contact Centre, says there are three main motor vehicle licensing bodies Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), Chief Mechanical Engineer (CME) and the Military Licencing Board (MLB).
He explains that the MLB based in Bombo barracks registers motor vehicles used by the military while the chief mechanical engineer based at the Ministry of Works registers government owned vehicles used at both local and government levels. URA registers vehicles for civilians, including those with personalised number plates. Under the categories of motor vehicle number plates that URA licences.
Duty-free number plates
This type of number plates have a red background with white characters. It applies to vehicles that were or are duty-free at the time they were imported. Except for their registration, their tax is paid by government and they are not transferable to an individual until the depreciated value is paid at the time of their disposal. An example could be the President giving a car to a bishop.
“He (the bishop)an transfer the car but cannot transfer the tax exemption benefit,” Mpairwe points out. Vehicles that carry this type of number plates are owned by NGOs such as United States Agency for International Development, (Usaid), GTZ Germany agency, Irish Aid and Norway Aid.
“They (NGOs)arry this type of number plates after entering an agreement with the government to import goods, among them cars, for purposes of doing foreign-sponsored project work in Uganda,” he explains.
Mpairwe adds “They could also be used by expatriates attached to these organisations and were exempted by tariff or the government paid the tax.” Other motor vehicles eligible to carry duty free number plates include hospital ambulances, funeral service vehicles, tourist vehicles and rally cars because they are used to do work that benefits the country.
“If a Ugandan has been working abroad supporting an industry for more than a year and they return with a car, they are also given such a number plate. They are also not transferable from one individual to another unless duty is paid,” Mpairwe further explains.
Personalised number plates
Like ordinary number plates, personalised number plates are also issued by URA to peoplecivilians who apply for them. Though there is a misconception by the public that the personalised number plate ownership is paid for every year, Mpairwe says it is not true.
“For one to get a personalised number plate, they have to pay Shs6m on top of import duty and registration fees. When we had just started issuing these number plates, they first cost Shs3m, then Shs5m and are now at Shs6m. When a car owner pays for a personalised number plate, they own it and it is tagged to their Tax Identification Number (TIN) and cannot be transferred to another person,” Mpairwe says.
This number plate can however be transferred from one car to another and charged a change fee of two per cent of the existing fee, which is Shs120,000 currently.
He adds “If the personalised number plate owner, for example, passes on, the number plate also ceases to exist and cannot be given to the next of kin. URA retains it and it is one of those things that cannot be inherited. Instead, the number plate is plucked off and the car is transferred to the next of kin and they have to use the ordinary number plate.”
For issuance of motor cycle personalised number plates, it costs Shs1.5m until it is transferred from one motorcycle to another and also charged two per cent of the existing fee.
Under this type, the number plates have a light blue background with white characters and they are attached onto government owned parastatals such as National Forestry Authority, National Social Security Fund, National Water and Sewerage Corporation, Kampala Capital City Authority and Uganda Wildlife Authority. “Any organisation that exists by statute of the Ugandan government, it’s autonomous or semi-autonomous by the government, has cars with this type of number plate,” Mpairwe notes.
Replacing a number plate
Steps: According to The Konsult Hub, an online information platform, in the incident that you have lost one or both of your motor vehicle number plates, just wanting to replace them due to wear and tear (when they are old) or any other reasons, these are the steps you need to follow to get a replacement.
Report case: You should first report to the nearest police station to get a police report. After making a police report, you have to visit any local news paper and place an aert for number plate loss.
Go to URA: Visit the licencing office of any Uganda Revenue Authority branch with the above documents 14 days after the aert was published and make an application for a duplicate number plate.
Payments: You are then supposed to pay the required duplicate number plate replacement fee to URA of Shs49,000 and return on the date of collection as agreed with URA to pick your duplicate number plates. The same procedure applies to when someone has lost their motorcycle number plate.
Handover the old one: However, in incidences where you have lost one of the number plates, you are required to surrender the one that you remained with to URA and endure the above process of getting a replacement. When one is applying for a motor vehicle number plate for the first time, the application, registration and printing fees is Shs137,000, payable to URA and GM Tumpeco, a company that prints number plates.
These are used by diplomats in Uganda and they have a white background with blue characters. They are issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. After URA receives communication from the Foreign Affairs Ministry, it issues a given number plate to a given diplomat.
However, it should be noted that each country with an embassy in Uganda has a diplomatic number plate attached to it. For example, Mpairwe says the British High Commission number plate begins with CD01 plus other figures that follow the American embassy has CD02 and the French embassy has CD04.”
Garagedealers number plates
This type has a white background and red characters whose series is, for example, U10054D and is issued by URA. It is intended for people who import, deal and repair motor vehicles. “If you have an unregistered motor vehicle, there is no limited number of garage number plates an individual can register under this category,” Mpairwe says, adding that all vehicles, if unregistered, should not be on the road unless they have the dealer’s number plates. It should be noted that motor vehicle number plates in Uganda have seven characters, except for those that are personalised, which have one to nine characters. These can either be alphabets, digits or alphabets mixed with digits.
Amount you pay to replace your number plate.
Amount you pay to get a new number plate.
SOURCE: Daily Monitor