On the cards: Excise dept recommends ‘cheaper number plates’

Published: July 14, 2019
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LAHORE: With the prices of everything else going up, the Department of Excise and Taxation Punjab has decided to go against the grain and compiled a list of recommendations that will control the cost of manufacturing computerised number plates for vehicles.

As per the recommendations, the prices will be reduced by Rs200 per plate for cars and Rs100 for motorcycles. Meanwhile, the licence for an entity to prepare/manufacture the number plates will be issued at a cost of Rs100 million. As a condition, all licence holders will have to give 5% to 10% of their profit to the excise department.

That apart, secretary excise Nabil Awan has issued orders which dictate that property tax challans – along with all other types of challans – will be issued through computerised printing. There will be a ban on handwritten challans and action will be taken against officials who fail to comply with the new rule.

According to details obtained by The Express Tribune, acting excise director general Chaudhry Masoodul Haq has briefed the secretary excise about the proposed system through which licences for the preparation of number plates will be issued.

The licence holder will be able to establish offices across all 36 districts of Punjab where applicants will be able to apply for computerised number plates. With the cooperation of the Pakistan Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (PCSIR), the department of excise will approve the material, colour and other standards for the manufacturing process.

In case of any violation, the security deposit of the license holder will be seized. Sources also said that the company responsible for preparing the number plates for the excise department will first import plain plates. These will subsequently have the necessary number engraved on them from Lahore.

The excise department pointed out the unnecessary features in number plates and proposed eliminate them, resulting in lower manufacturing costs.

Top officials at the department have also proposed the removal of the front number plates for motorbikes because CCTV security cameras cannot read them accurately. At present, the number plates for motorbikes are being prepared at a cost of Rs750. However, if the front plates are removed, then the rear plates will only cost Rs400, which will end up being far more economical for buyers.

In its recommendations, the excise department also proposed that all licence holders should be asked to pay 5% to 10% as special charges that, instead of being deposited in the provincial account, should go to the excise department’s account. The department believes this will allow it to start new projects and welfare programmes for its staffers.

Sources further told The Express Tribune that after its four-year agreement with the excise department ended, Inbox, the company which prepares number plates, has contacted top excise officials to remove its machinery and equipment. It has also been learnt that three large companies have shown interest in obtaining the excise department’s licence to prepare number plates. 

Published in The Express Tribune, July 14th, 2019.

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