Russian firm contracted for 10 years to handle project. The artificial intelligence will back up other measures in place, such as the CCTV cameras#Number Plates#Security#Jim Muhwezi
All motor vehicles, motor cycles and water vessels in the country will be re-registered to acquire new digital number plates and a special tracking device, the security minister, Jim Muhwezi, has said.
The new measure is aimed at implementing the intelligent transport monitoring system ordered by President Yoweri Museveni to curb crime.
Muhwezi was speaking during the signing ceremony of a 10-year agreement between the Government of Uganda and a Russian firm — Joint Stock Company Global Security that will implement the project before handing it over to Uganda.
Muhwezi said the project would help deal with the security problem and would provide government with a digital system that will monitor all automobiles in the country. The artificial intelligence will back up other measures in place, such as the CCTV cameras installed in some urban areas.
Permanent secretaries Bageya Waiswa (works ministry) and Yunus Kakande (for the presidency), signed the agreement on behalf of the Ugandan government, while the Russian firm was represented by Ivan Skarban, the chief executive officer, and Eketeria Kuznetsova.
It was witnessed by Muhwezi at the Office of the President in Kampala on Friday. The cost of the project was not revealed.
How it will work
“Every vehicle, motor cycles, boats and any other motor mobiles will be re-registered and get new number plates.
They will have a monitoring system and a digital system in the number plate. There will be communication between the monitor in the automobile, the number plate and the centre. You cannot, for instance, even transfer a number plate from one vehicle to another. It will be communicating to the centre that there is tampering in the system,” Muhwezi said.
He added that this was not the first time the motorists are getting new number plates. “We had old number plates and the Government changed and we have the new number plates with the Uganda flag. This is what is going to happen in order to get that new number plates with the new device,” the minister explained.
He said the payment modalities would be communicated later. “As you know, registration of the vehicle is not free of charge, even a driving permit is not free of charge. Anybody who owns an automobile will meet that charge.
However, it will be within the means of the owners of the vehicle,” Muhwezi added.
“This project is not only going to benefit security, but also other government agencies and institutions, such as the Uganda Revenue Authority, Kampala Capital City Authority, the works ministry and finance ministry,” Muhwezi said.
He noted that the investor would come on the ground to establish centres in different parts of the country working with the Uganda People’s Defence Forces investment arm — the National Enterprise Corporation.
The minister did not reveal how much the investor had put in the project but noted that it was a Built Operate and Transfer project that had a 10-year gestation period to allow the firm recoup the money and then transfer it to government.
Muhwezi noted that the project management team would determine which period one would renew the payment for the digital number plate to the Russian firm.
The function was also attended by the Kampala Capital City Authority executive director Dorothy Kisaka, Director of the Citizenship and Immigration Control Maj. Gen Apollo Gowa Kasiita and the National Information Technology Authority director Hatwib Mugasa, among others.
The Constitution guarantees the right to privacy.
Muhwezi defended the deal, noting that everything was done within the laws of the country, even though he did not quote any specific law.
“Everything was done within the laws of the country. There has been clearance from the Solicitor General. We are not putting monitors in the car, like it is done in other countries. I would like to assure everybody that the system will not interest itself in private matters of all motor vehicle users. The purpose is only security. With this system, once there is a security situation, we will be able to tell which vehicle was in that place. If there is no security problem, no one will be interested. There should be no worry of intrusion in privacy of motor vehicle users, until there is a situation,” he said,” Muhwezi said.
The Russian firm, Muhwezi said, was procured under the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act.
Muhwezi added that those who feel it is an infringement on their rights are free to go to court, insisting that the intention of Government is to guarantee security.
“Vehicles and bikes have been used in the murder of our people, and, therefore, as government, we want to know which vehicles were at the scene of crime. If you don’t want to be involved in those criminal activities, you don’t need to worry.”