Tendai Mugabe Senior Reporter
Government has not engaged any foreign company to manufacture vehicle registration number plates following a shortage caused by the lack of foreign currency to import raw materials required to produce the plates, Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Joel Biggie Matiza has said.
Minister Matiza said the current arrangement in terms of producing number plates had not changed.
His remarks followed media reports last week insinuating that Government had engaged a Germany company Erich Utsch AG under a US$20 million deal to manufacture number plates at various plants to be set up in various provinces.
In an interview with The Herald, Minister Matiza said the media claims were unfounded.
He said Government was pinning its hopes on increased foreign currency inflows to procure the needed raw materials and continue the manufacture of number plates locally under the existing arrangements.
“We have not engaged any foreign company to manufacture number plates for us. Such media claims are bent on misleading the public.
“We are hoping that the recently announced monetary measures are going to result in increased foreign currency inflows and that will also allow us to import the raw materials we require to manufacture the number plates,” said Minister Matiza
“We also expect the new policy that we introduced on the use of old number plates to ease pressure on the demand for number plates.
Minister Matiza said the German firm just came with its proposals that were not adopted by Government and any suggestions that there was an agreement were misleading.
An official from the Ministry of Transport, who refused to be named, said there was no need to engage a foreigner to manufacture number plates.
He said Zimbabwe was among countries in Africa with low vehicle theft cases and there was no need to burden motorists with number plates with some unnecessary sophistications.
“Zimbabwe has the lowest vehicle theft rate in the region if not the entire African continent and close to 50 percent of all the vehicles are recovered through various methods most of all being the difficulty in cloning vehicle registration plates.
“Some African countries record as high as 50 000 vehicle thefts yearly but in Zimbabwe latest statistics show that Zimbabwe has under 200 vehicle thefts annually out of a vehicle population of one million. This shows we may not need to burden our motorists with some of these highly mechanised plates which call for the use of huge amounts of the scarce foreign currency.”