The Ministry of Works and Transport has vowed to roll out the Intelligent Transport Monitoring System (ITMS) especially to motorcycles starting July this year.

This follows realisation that Boda-boda (motorcycle) related crime activity “has notably been on the rise across the country and especially in the Greater Kampala Metropolitan Area”.

The implementation of the system which involves introduction of new, digital registration number plates for motor vehicles and cycles, has been delayed as authorities seek a common position on the mode.

The other hiccup was the introduction of sanctions by western countries on Russia, the home country of the company implementing the system, Joint Stock Company Global-Security. 

The sanctions mean that the plates have to be “exported” to Poland before being shipped to Uganda, and in smaller batches, according to the ministry.

The number of motorcycles in Uganda is estimated at between 1 and 1.2 million, the majority operating taxi services (boda boda), while motor vehicles are estimated at between 2.3 and 2.5 million.

The idea of digital number plates, which the Ministry of Works says is one component of the digitalisation if the whole traffic system, was adopted mainly to curb crime that involved the use of motorcycles and vehicles.

Following increasing gun attacks on prominent persons in business, government, security and religious denominations, President Yoweri Museveni in 2018 directed the Security and Works and Transport ministries to embark on the process.

At a meeting on Wednesday involving the contractor, officials from the Ministry of Works and Transport, and Ministry of Security, resolved to commence the new registration and fitment of Digital Number Plates on Motorcycles this July, saying it is timely because of a surge in crime.

The Ministry has held several consultative meetings with Motorcycle Dealers in an attempt to streamline issues as they work towards digitalizing all boda bodas registration in the country.

The new Intelligent Transport Monitoring System will enable real time tracking and identification of motor bike users which is expected to greatly mitigate the security threats that are posed by criminals who wrongfully use motorbikes.

Current owners of registered vehicles will part with 150,000 shillings while new registration will cost 735,000 shillings.