KARACHI: Number plates may well be an accurate reflection of the governance in the province of Sindh. A makeshift, rusted, stencilled, archaic, difficult to read, apology of a tin sheet. I (along with thousands of other citizens) continue to carry such ugly contraptions. Today was my third unsuccessful visit to the Excise and Taxation (E&T) Department for collecting the original number plate. For the old man ahead of me in the queue, it was his sixth. The E&T department remains utterly clueless and remorseless. The number plate issuing office opened at 10:05am and the officers did not arrive till 10:30. There were indeed a few thousand number plates lying in the stock. The E&T Department is, however, not interested in finding a way to inform the public. On the contrary, it expects citizens (read slaves) to line up every day in front of their offices to discover this information for themselves. Must the public be penalised for the Department’s fault and inefficiency? The least that the E&T Department ought to do is to publicly apologise for not issuing the number of plates at the time of registration. It must place repeated ads in newspapers that describe the number plates that are ready for collection. Ideally, it must announce a 24/7 phone line where a citizen could get accurate information on the availability of a specific number plate. Finally, the E&T Department must discontinue the manual receiving of all motor vehicle taxes and introduce a mobile App that enables tax payment using mobile phone money transfer systems.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 21st, 2019.