Rawalpindi Excise Taxation and Narcotics Control Department’s new vehicle and motorcycle registration and transfer system has faced significant setbacks just weeks after its re-launch following an overhaul.
Online registration and payment of transfer fees have become next to impossible due to the system’s malfunctioning. Consequently, the department has resorted to sending consumers to private shops to process online payments, slowing down the registration process.
Private shops have started charging an extra Rs2,000 for vehicle fee submissions and Rs500 for motorcycles. This has led to a notable decline in new vehicle and motorcycle registrations in the department, resulting in substantial daily revenue losses estimated at Rs5 million to Rs10 million.
Over the past week, only 20 new vehicles and 55 motorcycles have been registered, marking a record low since the new upgraded system was introduced.
Due to these ongoing issues, residents of Rawalpindi, Chakwal, Attock, and Jhelum have turned to registering their vehicles in Islamabad, rather than their respective districts in Punjab.
As a result, the excise department has struggled to meet its tax collection targets for the motor branch in the first quarter of the new financial year 2023-24.
In an attempt to address the problems, two officials from the Punjab Information Technology Board have been deployed to the Rawalpindi office for biometric verification during online registration of new vehicles and motorcycles, as well as fee collection.
The online biometric registration and transfer system for new vehicles and motorcycles in Punjab have been plagued by issues for the past two years. Consequently, the department has failed to provide computerised smart registration cards and number plates for vehicle registration.
Approximately 20,000 smart cards and 65,000 number plates for vehicles and motorcycles in Rawalpindi Division remain pending, as negotiations with the contractors in Islamabad have stalled.
In response to these difficulties, Car Showrooms Association Vice President Hasan Shah expressed frustration and shared that they have relocated to Islamabad for their vehicle registration needs. Islamabad offers lower fees and immediate access to smart cards and number plates, he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 24th2023.