‘Scientists’ commissioned to manufacture ‘superior number plates’: Matiza

Zimbabwe’s tertiary institutions and scientists have been tasked by government “to come up with suitable and superior” vehicle number plate, Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Joel Biggie Matiza has said.

“Government is cognisance of the fact that there is a shortage of number plates,” Matiza told legislators during Wednesday’s National Assembly question and answer session.

“Those who listened to yesterday’s news heard the interventions by Government to solve this issue once and for all – that is localising manufacturing of number plates.”

He continued: “This whole process has been championed by our higher institutes of learning and scientists to come up with a suitable and superior number plate.  This has been achieved by our institutions and our scientists.  As we speak now, Cabinet has approved the production of number plates locally.”

A budget of US$1 million was on Tuesday approved by Cabinet for the establishment of a plant that will manufacture vehicle number plates locally. The price of number plates is expected to fall from US$80.35 to US$45.61 because of the use of local materials.

The move is expected to reduce the import bill by 56%.  Currently the country spends 700 00 Euro annually on importing number plates

Government has said the project aims to ensure industrial scale manufacturing of number plates and enable citizens to access the same at affordable cost.

The number plates will be manufactured using aluminium and acrylic materials which are locally available.

Cabinet on Tuesday said the proposed number plates will have enhanced features which supersede the features of the current number plates but still maintain compliance to SADC regulations.

“The objective of the Project is to design and manufacture registration number plates that meet world design standards that use Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tagging to optimize the use of road space, reduce non-compliance, enhance toll and parking authentication, combat vehicle crime and fight terrorism,” Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa said during post Cabinet briefing.