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Number plates: Motorists decry cumbersome issuance procedures, urge authorities to ease bottlenecks

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Many motorists in parts of the North-Central and Taraba have decried the cumbersome procedures involved in the issuance of Number Plates and Driving Licences, describing the process as “time-consuming”.

The stakeholders, who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) urged that the protocols be relaxed to enable them to obtain the documents with ease.

In Jos, a motorist, Godwin Adewale, complained about the cumbersome and long procedures involved in obtaining a new number plate.

Adewale, therefore, urged all the relevant agencies in charge of the exercise to make the process less cumbersome “to enable us to invest our time in other human endeavours”.

Another motorist, Mrs Chika Chima, lamented that it took her almost five months to get a driver’s license, after applying for it.

Chima blamed the problem partly on some hitches being encountered in the Portal that was being used to produce the card for the document.

“I kept going there and the office had a problem with their portal, but I eventually got a printout, ” she said.

Mr Dan Abu, a commercial motorist operating in the tin city, also lamented what he called the “bureaucratic bottlenecks’’ involved in obtaining driver’s license and number plates.

Abu said Nigeria was in a technology-driven world and called for the use of advanced technology in the issuance of the documents.

However, Mr Andrew Bala, the Public Education Officer, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) Plateau Command, said the process of obtaining a driver’s license had been made easier.

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Bala said that the process of obtaining a driver’s license was automated and operated as a one-stop-shop (the FRSC, Vehicle Inspection Office (VIO) and State Internal Revenue are operating in one building).

“The process is Automated through an online system and the interactions of the tripartite bodies namely the FRSC, VIO and BIRS.

He, however, said that the state had no automated machines for the registration of cars for now.

On the discrepancies in the cost of issuance of driver’s license, he attributed it to differences in how much each state charged for “Learner’s Permit and VIO Test Fee”, but that the cost charged by the FRSC remained the same nationwide.

The officer said that the state was generating 50 per cent revenue from each driver’s license-produced.

Mr Dagat Yakubu, VIO personnel attached to the Motor Licensing Authority in the state, said the agency usually inspects and certifies vehicles were fit before issuing number plates for them.

Yakubu said that vehicles were usually certified roadworthy, with the mode of entry and custom duty checked before approval was given for the issuance of the number plate.

“For number plate revalidation, the charge ranges between N23,000 and N25,000, but for new cars that cost below N1 million, the charge is N28,000, while for cars above N1 million, the cost is N32,000, and for articulated vehicles, the cost is N42,000,” he said.

Similarly, motorists in Nasarawa State have urged the FRSC and the State Internal Revenue Service to make the process of obtaining a driver’s licence less cumbersome to attract more applicants.

Mr Segun Bello described the process of getting the document as “very cumbersome and unattractive”, saying the procedure was driving away potential applicants that would have brought revenue to the government.

“To get it, you will pay money here, you will pay money there. They will tell you to go to driving school even when you already know how to drive. Owners of driving schools will charge you for training and getting the certificate.

“And it is not over yet, because you go to other places, pay money too and wait for like two months or more before you finally get the license.

“I know a lot of people who started the process but didn’t finish it because of the cumbersome process and lack of time. I hope the government will do something about it,” Bello said.

Malam Tanko Danjuma, a commercial motorist, said at a stage, he had to suspend the process because of lack of time, the nature of his job and the cumbersome process, before he created another time for it and finally concluded the exercise.

“If everything can be done at one spot, it will go a long way in easing the process. It is not the money for the application that is scaring people, it is the process,” he said.

Mr Usman Ibrahim, Public Enlightenment Officer of FRSC in the state, confirmed that the process was indeed time-consuming, with applicants starting with training at privately-owned driving schools in order to be able to get a certificate.

Ibrahim said after that, applicants had to visit the Internal Revenue Service office, VIO, a designated government hospital, among others, and comply with the instructions given in the said establishments before a temporary driver’s license would be issued.

“After all these steps, you will now come for physical capturing and a temporary license will be given to you which you will use pending when the permanent one is made available,” he said.

On the price for a driver’s license in the state, Ibrahim disclosed that for that of three years, applicants were expected to pay the sum of N6,350, while for a license of 5 years, the fee was N10,450.

He said in the state, commercial vehicle number plates cost N35,000, while private vehicle number plates cost N28,000, explaining that the discrepancies in the prices of driver’s license and number plates were due to the internal revenue charges of the respective states.

“Each state has its own process. Each state has its own internal revenue charges. Each state fixes its own prices and the charges are put under the charge of driver’s licence,” he said.

In Taraba, however, the State Command of the FRSC said that the state had automated machines for vehicle registration, thereby making it easy for motorists to obtain the documents.

Assistant Route Commander Paul Okwodua, the Corps Public Education Officer in the state, who disclosed this also explained that the discrepancies in the cost of vehicle number plates and drivers’ license emanated from the patronage of unauthorized persons by motorists.

According to Okwodua, the cost of the vehicle number plate was N12, 500, excluding the cost of learners permit from VIO and medical test.

“A new national driver’s license costs N6,350 for three years and N10, 450 for five years, and the same goes for renewal, excluding the cost of driving school proficiency certification,” he said.

He said that all the processes were automated and easy to undergo by motorists, and urged applicants not to patronise unauthorised persons to avoid extortion.

However, Alhaji Abubakar Ahmed, a motorist in Jalingo, said the procedures of obtaining vehicle number plates and driver’s license were too many and cumbersome.

Ahmed advised the VIO in the state, the state Board of Internal Revenue and the FRSC to have a combined unit where all the processes would be done in one place.

Another motorist in the area, Mrs Grace Andekin, also described the processes as “too cumbersome” and urged the relevant agencies to ease them.

Meanwhile, the Benue State Coordinator of Vehicle Registration, Mr Asema Tarsue, said the state was using auto registration as the platform for automated vehicles registration.

Tarsue also said that all registrations were linked to the National Vehicle Identification Scheme (NVIS).

He said the cost of vehicle registration was determined by its engine capacity and purpose of usage, and that private vehicles were charged differently from commercial ones.

According to him, engine capacities ranged from 0.5 to 12.0, and that each had its price for the registration.

Tarsue listed the various engine categories as 0.5, 1.5, 1.6 to 2.0., 2.1, 3.0, 3.1 up to 12.0.

He also disclosed that another requirement for vehicle registration in the state ” is the provision of Customs Clearance Papers “.

He said for vehicles that were already used by their previous owners, the new owners needed to provide necessary supporting documents before they could be registered.

The official also said that number plates were no longer issued to a particular vehicle but to the individual that owned the vehicle.

He said that such numbers could be removed and fixed on another car owned by its owner.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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