Online vehicle registration welcomed
By Omondi Julius Odera, Kampala, Uganda
The new online vehicle registration system introduced by the Uganda Revenue Authority has been applauded by many stakeholders. This new system replaces the manual system of physical green logbooks, which had a lot of flaws.
This move is aimed at promoting good service delivery as automobile owners can access their accounts for registration wherever they are. Sarah Banage, Assistant commissioner for Public and Corporate affairs at URA, notes that the system is convenient, efficient and fast, as everything is done at the click of a button.
“In addition, we are trying to get away the value from the paper (physical green logbooks) as all the details will now be stored in our database”, she explains.
The new process will ensure that there is transparency as far as vehicle or motor cycle ownership is concerned. This is a relief to many, especially the banks, who accept vehicles as collateral for those who want to borrow loans.
Banage explains: “With the old manual system, one vehicle could have several logbooks which are fake and the banks were the major victims of such frauds; However, with this new online registration, in case a vehicle is to undergo a transaction, anybody, including the bank officials, can ascertain the true owner of the vehicle in question by accessing its details from URA website”
At the inception of the new system, the tax body encountered a lot of opposition, especially from a section of the lawmakers.
Banage alludes to this: “People fear change and the masses were so attached to the manual physical green logbook. However, we had to pitch a tent at parliament in order to enlighten the parliamentarians who were opposed to the move and eventually they appreciated it” Banage also understands that it may take a while before all the masses adopt and appreciate the new system as she explains that the learning curve will take time.
There were cases of people fearing for the safety of their automobiles data after registration but Banage puts these fears to rest:, “Our database is constantly being improved. We are permanently upgrading and securing all our data which are also stored offsite therefore even if one steals our computers, there is no data that he will get”
The new system requires already registered vehicles which had the old manual physical logbooks to re-validate their vehicles by creating an account on the URA website and following the prompts. The motorists have been given a one year period to revalidate their vehicles and motor cycles and by the end June 2013, Banage cautions that they will have to coerce those who will have not followed suite. The people who are purchasing new automobiles automatically use the new system of online registration.
The process is continuously being adopted and URA has so far registered over 40,000 automobiles a number that Banage expects to increase sharply after their awareness campaigns.