Kenyans will part with Ksh3,000 to replace the old motor-vehicle number plates with the digital ones equipped with security features to curb crime and theft cases.
The digital plates were unveiled during the launch of the new number plates at the GSU Recce unit Headquarters in Ruiru, Nairobi on Tuesday, August 30.
All automobiles, including motorbikes and three-wheelers, trailers and tractors, both private and government-owned, and those used by diplomats and international organizations will adopt the new generational plates.
According to Interior CS Fred Matiang'i, all motorists are required to replace their old number plates within 18 months. Matiang'i insisted that exercise is mandatory and urged all motorists to replace the plates within the stipulated timelines.
"When the NTSA team calls on Kenyans to change the plates, let us obey and get it done within those 18 months. Issuance of new plates will begin with newly registered vehicles from the KDK series and replacement of existing ones to start from October 1, 2022," Matiang'i stated.
He added that the digital number plates would be synchronised with the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) systems to nab dealers who relent in paying taxes.
"We are doing this because we want to address the security of our country. We want to help other agencies such as KRA to function properly, uplift the financial sector and improve transparency,” he stated.
Some of the security features will be visible to the naked eye whereas others will only be accessible to law enforcement agencies.
Besides a unique template, they’ll feature a specially-imprinted national flag, hologram, watermark, unique and different serial numbers for rear and front plates that are linked to the vehicle’s chassis number and customized font.
The smart plates, which will be easily identifiable to law enforcement officers, will also store information such as year of manufacturer, type and colour of vehicle, engine number, transmission type, date and place of manufacture, and insurance details.
Existing plates were said to lack adequate security features thereby making it difficult for enforcement agencies to identify the fake ones supplied by unauthorised personnel.
The CS was flanked by Transport CS James Macharia, his ICT counterpart Joe Mucheru, and National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) Director General George Njao among others.
Transport CS Macharia, reiterated that the new plates comply with the amended Traffic Act of 2016. His ministry gazetted Traffic (Registration Plates) Rules in 2016 to cover all types of registration plates, their usage, and application processes to reform the industry and prohibit the manufacture or sale of reflective registration plates or third registration plates licenses without the written consent of the Authority.
He further pointed out that the new plates would cover 12 categories of vehicles as per the legal notice 62 of 2016. He also disclosed that the number of motorists had risen to 4.8 million from 3.2 million last year.
"The plates form a basis for tracking and monitoring vehicles in the country which have risen significantly," he explained.
Macharia directed Kenyans to acquire the plates from NTSA which will unveil guidelines in the coming days.
The chain of registration will entail building a database of all the vehicles registered right at the point of entry and linking the databases of the NTSA and the National Police Service to make it difficult to trade in motor vehicles that are carjacked from other countries.