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Motorists bemoan spike in drivers’ licence, number plate rates

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Motorists

Motorists have described the new spike in drivers’ licence and number plate rates as insensitive to the plight of the Nigerian public.

They said a subtle increase in the cost of living without value-added readily inflicts more hardship on motorists and other end-users.

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The Federal Government, this week, approved an upward review of rates payable by motorists to obtain drivers’ licences and new number plates nationwide, as part of the measures to increase revenue.

It announced an upward review of standard private number plates and commercial number plates from N12, 000 to N18,750.

Also, the government through the Joint Tax Board (JTB), approved that drivers’ licences for three years and five years would cost N10,350 and N15,450 respectively, as against the previous rate which was N6, 450, and N10, 450.

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It has, meanwhile, directed all State Boards of Internal Revenue to ensure strict adherence to the newly approved rates beginning from August 1st, 2021.

Some of the vehicle owners lamented that the timing was wrong, adding the move would increase maintenance costs.

A motorist, Chima Okoro, said in a time of very high inflation, decrease in the earnings of self-employed people and even people in paid jobs, “the increase is an act devoid of any sense of care for the ordinary citizen”.

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For Olaolu Olawoyin, the increment of the driver’s licence and the number plate is uncalled for. He said: “Government is being inconsiderate considering the high cost of living in Nigeria.”

However, Chief Executive Officer, West Atlantic Cold-Chain and Commodities Limited, Henrii Nwanguma, said in the context of today’s costs, “it is understandable”.

Communication Strategist, Femi Salawu, said coming at a time of high inflation and economic hardship in Nigeria, the increase makes life even more difficult for an overwhelmed populace.

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Salawu, who analysed the increment, said for plate numbers, it is 56 per cent while drivers’ licence fees stand at 46 per cent and 61 per cent, respectively, for three and five years driver’s license.

“These are alarming figures. I don’t know if someone somewhere has vowed to continue to punish all Nigerians with these insensitive policies. Bear in mind that in connivance with touts and middlemen, our officials are enabled by institutional corruption to release these items at rates higher than official ones. This increase is badly timed. I encourage the government to postpone it or subsidize it if the increase must happen now,” Salawu said.

Founder, Safety Beyond Borders, Patrick Adenusi, said there is no time that is wrong for doing the right thing.

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“But the question would be, the fee that is paid for drivers’ license and number plate, does it have government’s budget or motorists are buying the license as a product,” he queried.

Another motorist, Peter Onwuaso, said the policy is mean and empty. Onwuaso said the government feels that increasing taxes is the best way of generating income, adding that there is nothing creative the government has done to improve lives.

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“No increase in salary or income. Minimum wage, they’re having difficulty to pay, yet they increase all these. How do they think people will meet up?

“Instead of increment, they should think of more creative ways to better the lots of citizens and generate income and not tax them considering the unpalatable business environment.”

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