23 May 2012

Nigeria: Senate Turned Down Report On New Number Plate

The Senate on Wednesday turned down the report of its Committee on Federal Character and Inter-governmental Affairs on the new number plate and urged it to do more work on the document.

Senate President David Mark ruled that the report as presented by the Sen. Dahiru Kuta (PDP-Niger) led committee was too verbose, adding that there was need to reduce the recommendations to a manageable number.

Mark said the report as presented was too ambiguous and that there was a need for the committee to use straight-forward language in its presentation.

Some of the recommendations of the committee included that the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) should reduce the cost of the new number plate fromN15,000 to N8,400 and the driver's licence from N6,000 to N4,000.

It also recommended that the FRSC should call for replacement of driver's licence only at the expiration of the old one to avoid double payment.

The committee had also recommended that the FRSC should extend the Aug. 2012 deadline given for the renewal of licences and plate numbers to February 2013.

It also recommended that the FRSC should reduce their cost of production of motorcycle licences from N3,000 to N375 while the state should only add an additional N375 so that the motorcyclists' would pay N750.

In his contribution, Sen. Ayogu Eze (PDP-Enugu), noted that the Senate had no business dabbling into fixing of prices as price fixing was purely an executive function.

Sen. Nenadi Usman (PDP-Kaduna) on her part, argued that the Senate could only persuade the state to reduce the price and not by fiat.

Usman said she was in support of the price reduction but that it should be done in consultation with the joint tax force.

"The Senate cannot recommend a price below the cost price. The key issue is that the FRSC fixes the price at N7,500, the state government doubles it to N15,000 and the touts doubled it to about 40,000."

She condemned the activities of these touts who were making life unbearable through outrageous increases to the original price.

Sen. Barnabas Gemade (PDP-Benue), noted that the recommendations could be compressed into five and urged the committee to work towards streamlining them.

The Senate, however, agreed that the new price regime was too high and must be reduced to an affordable rate.

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