VEHICLE number plates can be produced locally by innovative hubs or manufacturing companies and all that is needed is adequate funding, an official has said.
The country has a backlog of number plates, which are imported and therefore need foreign currency.
Last week Cabinet tasked innovation hubs at universities to come up with a patent system for local production of plates with adequate security features.
This initiative is expected to help create employment for local scientists and save foreign currency.
“The problem of vehicle number plates can be addressed locally. These can be easily produced here at home instead of importing. The only issue is about the security system or features of the number plates, which requires us to invest in developing capacity and competency of local industry to produce them,” said Mr Aleck Ncube, one of the senior officers manning the National University of Science and Technology (Nust) Innovation Hub who is also an intellectual property expert.
“The major issue is about the security system of the number plate and how to ensure that it is genuine. Normally these should be watermarked and linked to a centralised system that detects fraud and ensures no one uses the same number plate.
“Given adequate support we can come up with our own coding system because all that is needed are adequate resources.”
Mr Ncube said with more investment into the innovation hubs, which are at the heart of President Mnangagwa’s Government, Zimbabwe will be able to substitute a number of unnecessary imports that continue to drain forex resources. For instance, he said there was no need for the country to be importing toothpicks, paper clips and so on, which should be easily produced at home.
Following presentation by the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development, Biggie Matiza, on the need to produce number plates locally as an import substitution strategy, Cabinet has tasked local innovation hubs to come up with a patent for the local production of number plates with the requisite security features.
“Cabinet is confident that the move to produce number plates locally will ease the current shortages being experienced in the country due to the limited availability of foreign currency. The local production of new number plates will also increase the utilisation of the country’s resources, including local scientists, and create employment for citizens,” said the Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Monica Mutsvangwa, last week.
Early this year the Central Vehicle Registry (CVR) stated that motorists will no longer be required to change vehicle registration plates along with the change of ownership due to shortage of plates which are imported from Germany.