MOTORISTS will no longer be required to change vehicle registration plates along with the change of ownership as the Government seeks to reduce expenditure in the production of the plates, a senior official said yesterday.

Acquiring new vehicle registration plates has been a challenge for motorists lately with the Central Vehicle Registry facing a shortage of the plates, which are imported from Germany.

In a telephone interview yesterday, Vehicle Inspection Department Director Mr Johannes Pedzapasi said all vehicles changing ownership would maintain their plates.

However, the vehicles would acquire new registration books with the new owners’ details.

Mr Pedzapasi said motorists were required to process change of ownership within 14 days from the day of sale or giving away, as keeping the car for longer constitutes a criminal offence.

“The new regulations were put into effect on 26 February and all vehicles changing ownership should maintain current plate, what only changes is the new registration book with details of the new owner.

This functionality has been enabled in our system.

“Motorists shall pay $15 to get a new registration book with the new owner’s details. The number plates and third plates shall remain the same and no plates will be surrendered. All other requirements shall remain unchanged,” said Mr Pedzapasi.

However, he said new number plates would be issued for Government and local authority vehicles when ownership changes from public service or private ownership or for replacement of damaged or lost plates.

“When a Government or local authority vehicle changes ownership, registration plates shall be surrendered as the usual norm as those plates are not the ordinary plates issued for members of the public. $80 will be paid for vehicles and $70 will be paid for trailers or motor cycles as per the norm as our policy remains the same for these categories.

“Conversion of old check letter plates and replacement of old, damaged or defaced vehicles also remains the same,” said Mr Pedzapasi.

He said the move was also meat to cut down on foreign currency expenditure used in the procurement of vehicle registration plates, which are imported from Germany.

“As you may well be aware that the country has been facing foreign currency shortages, we have been importing registration plates from Germany and this is costly. We have therefore resolved to cut costs and save our funds through allowing new owners to maintain current vehicle registration numbers.

“We hope that this move goes a long way in ensuring that forex is saved and that the vehicle registration process is more convenient to the public as we aim to offer competent services to the public through ensuring that our systems are competent and timely as expected of a service provider,” said Mr Pedzapasi.Chronicle