The Excise and Taxation Department has not delivered 245,000 number plates to motorists, claiming it needs approval by the chief minister before resuming the supply, The Express Tribune has learnt.
A department official revealed on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to talk to the media that a private company, Inbox, had prepared the plates. “On the orders of the excise secretary, the very first batch of the number plates, ready to be delivered, was stopped. The department also stopped printing new plates at the Inbox facility in the last week of September,” the official said.
The department had stopped issuing number plates to motorcycles in February, 2012 and to cars in March 2013. Over a million vehicles have been registered ever since.
Inbox had imported 0.7 million blank plates from Germany and another million plates are expected to arrive in the upcoming months. The company had established a facility to prepare 0.5 million plates per month.
The 1.68 million vehicle owners have paid the fee for plates and 1.17 million have not.
The department had earlier planned to restart delivering plates in August, 2014.
The department is also considering revising number plate rates. A number of meetings have been held over the issue. However, the new rates have not been finalised yet.
Zunair Ahmad, a motorist who applied for number plates for his car in 2013, said that he had not received the plates even though he had paid the fee. “I visited the Excise and Taxation Department on Wednesday (October 1). They told me to wait for another couple of weeks,” he said.
Ali Zaka, another motorist, said that he had visited the Excise and Taxation Department three times. “Each time, the officials tell me to wait for a few more weeks to get my number plates,” he said.
Excise and Taxation Department Secretary Khalid Masood Chaudhry said that they would need a formal approval from Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif in order to supply the already printed plates. “The new number plate rates will also be approved after a meeting with the Finance Department and with the consent of the chief minister,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 6th, 2014.
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