Uganda Implements Fines and Jail Terms for Failure to Install Digital Number Plates

An advanced 'Smart Tracking System’ to be implemented in Uganda

Motorists failing to install digital number plates on their vehicles will face fines of up to UGX 2 million or a jail term of one year, according to officials from the Ministry of Works and Transport.

Eng. Karim Kibuuka, the principal vehicle inspector at the Ministry of Works and Transport, made this announcement during the rollout of digital number plates. The implementation started with government vehicles and will be extended to new and imported vehicles from February 1, 2024. Vehicles with current old license plates will follow suit, with a two-year transition period. After this period, motorists without digital number plates will be subject to fines, imprisonment, or both.

Eng. Kibuuka explained that during the transition period, failing to update number plates will result in a penalty not exceeding 100 currency points or imprisonment not exceeding one year, or both. One currency point equals UGX 20,000, so 100 currency points are equivalent to UGX 2 million.

Under the new licensing regime, all vehicles will be fitted with new number plates featuring security chips synchronized with security electronic devices that indicate the vehicle’s real-time status. Tampering with the digital number plates or electronic chips will be a punishable offense.

Eng. Kibuuka emphasized that no one would be allowed to tamper with the chip or its functionality. In case of accidental tampering, such as during repairs or due to road damage, the incident should be reported to the Chief Licensing Officer at the Ministry of Works within 24 hours.

Interfering with the digital number plates or chips can lead to a UGX 2 million fine, one year of imprisonment, or both, according to the Ministry of Works. The Intelligent Transport Monitoring System is designed to alert authorities if tampering occurs.

Eng. Kibuuka also mentioned that the plates could only be removed with authorization from the Chief Licensing Officer for justifiable reasons and at a licensed and accredited garage. Unauthorized removal from other locations would be considered an offense.

In terms of costs, new vehicles and recently imported vehicles will pay UGX 714,000 for digital number plates, while vehicles with old license plates will pay UGX 150,000 for replacements. Motorcycles will be charged UGX 50,000 for the same service.

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