The Senate Committee on Federal Character and Inter Governmental Affairs panel, Tuesday, expressed dismay over the exorbitant price of drivers’ licence and new number plate by state governments.
The controversial new number plate and drivers’ licence introduced by the Federal Road Safety Commission, FRSC, was produced at the cost of N7,593 and N3,000 respectively but sold at N15,000 and N6,000 to Nigerian public by state governments under the approval of the Joint Tax Board.
The Senate Committee, at a public hearing on new number plate and drivers’ licence, described the price as exploitative and insensitive, while faulting the Joint Tax Board for condoning the collection of such exorbitant amount from vehicle owners.
Chairman of the Committee, Senator Dahiru Kuta, had wanted to know why FRSC should sell number plates at very high price. But the Corps Marshal of FRSC, Mr. Osita Chidoka, in his presentation said it cost the commission N3,000 and N7,593 to produce a drivers licence and number plate respectively.
He said the commission, however, gave out the number plates to the states at N7,500 but the states then sell to the public at N15,000.
He added that the cost of replacing old number plates with new ones had been reduced from N10,000 to N5,000 after due consultation between the Commission and the Joint Tax Board.
Chidoka, who was also asked why the commission was spending revenues accruing to it from the production of the driver’s licence and number plate scheme said it was difficult to remit monies to the federation account in 24 hours.
A member of the Committee, Senator Kabiru Marafa, had accused FRSC of breaching section 162 of the Constitution and section 8(2) of its establishment Act by failing to remit revenues generated by the agency to the Federal Government’s treasury within 24 hours.
But Chidoka in response said: “It has never been possible to remit money to the Federation Account within 24 hours because we didn’t even know how much money that we receive within 24 hours.
“The reality is that we can’t remit it within 24 hours. That is the National Assembly’s work to help us look at the law and review it.”
Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer of FRSC has said the corps remitted N1.4 billion into the Federation Account in 2011 from monies it generated from its operations.
On why the FRSC has not been effective in its operations, Chidoka said only N300 million was budgeted for the corps in 2012 for fuel despite partial removal of fuel subsidy.