Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Reps stop FRSC new number plates, licences [PUNCH]

FRSC Commander, Osita Chidoka
The House of Representatives on Tuesday asked the Federal Road Safety Commission to stop the issuance of new vehicle number plates and driving licence.
In a resolution it passed in Abuja, the House directed its Committee on FRSC to investigate the “rationale, necessity and circumstances” for the commission’s decision to replace the existing number plates and driving licence.
The House also noted that the job of the commission was to ensure safe driving on the highways and not revenue generation.
The committee was given four weeks to complete the assignment, while the FRSC was ordered to stop the implementation of the policy pending the outcome of the investigation.
The Chairman of the House Committee on Rules and Business, Mr. Sam Tsokwa, who raised the issue under matters of urgent public importance, told the House that controversies had surrounded the new policy.
Tsokwa observed that the policy was designed to “drain the pockets of Nigerians, who are already facing hard times.”
He argued that the cost of the new number plates was too high for Nigerians to bear, adding that some vehicle owners might pay as much as N95,000, depending on the grade of vehicle.
Tsokwa stated that while the official price of some of plates was N45,000, in the long run, Nigerians would have to pay more, as had always been the case with a new policy.
“The new number plates and licences planned to be introduced by the FRSC are going to cost Nigerian vehicle owners at least additional 40 per cent of the extant rate to purchase,” he said.
The Minority Leader of the House, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, observed that the commission was embarking on an illegal project as there was no law backing the new policy.
According  to  Gbajabiamila, any policy of government on revenue generation must have the approval of the National Assembly.
He said, “Mr. Speaker, this is a form of taxation; this is money issue and the House must be involved by way of considering the money bill.”
The Deputy Majority Leader, Mr. Leo Ogor, had tried to defend the policy by explaining why the commission introduced it, but he was shouted down.


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