The Excise and Taxation Department of Punjab government has once again decided to change the number plates pattern of the vehicles in the province. Moreover, it has also been decided to introduce computerized smartcards instead of the registration books.

“We are going to introduce universal number plates,” said Hafiz Mumtaz Ahmad, Minister for Excise, Taxation and Narcotics Control while adding that the provincial-centric number plates will replace the existing city-centric plates.

Punjab government has also decided to e-auction the number plates, where the allotted number will be registered against the bidders’ name, not the vehicle, that means there will be no compulsion to get a new registration number every time someone buys a vehicle.

Hafiz Mumtaz, while talking to a local TV, was of the view that we all have noticed that people are very fond of writing their names or caste on the back of the cars or number plates so why not generate the revenue while allowing people to cherish.

However, the plan seems vague and less than possible regarding the permanent registration of vehicle numbers on consumer’s name. How a vehicle with a permanent registration number on the personal name would be sold, what number it would carry after the transaction and what are the security concerns?

A suggestion has also been made to reduce the luxury tax on imported vehicles below 1500cc engine capacity to Rs. 15,000. It is worth noting that the existing luxury tax on vehicles in Punjab is Rs. 150,000 while there is no such tax in the capital city, Islamabad.

This is not the first time that such suggestions have come from the excise department, earlier, in the tenure of PMLN, a similar policy was devised, but it was never implemented. Although the government has decided to launch new number plates in the province, no date has been disclosed by the minister or the excise department.