The Minister of Transport, Kwaku Ofori Asiamah, has stopped the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) from going ahead with the issuance of new driver’s licence to the public.
The DVLA announced recently that from July 18, 2017, it was going to commence the issuance of biometric driver’s licence (popularly called Smart Driver’s Licence and Vehicle Registration Cards) at additional fees, but Mr Asiamah has asked the Authority to put the project on hold until further consultations.
A letter signed by the minister asking the DVLA to suspend the project has been copied to Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia; the Chief of Staff, Akosua Frema Osei-Opare and Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo-Maafo.
“There have been recent publications in the media about the launch of Smart Driver Licence and Vehicle Registration Cards by the authority and which has raised some public concerns,” the minister said in the letter.
“I wish also to refer you to the discussion I had with you on the subject for which I drew your attention to the need to obtain approval from the ministry and cabinet before the implementation of such major project,” the letter stated.
The minister requested the DVLA to submit to the ministry a memorandum on the project “to enable me to undertake some consultations and seek the necessary approval from cabinet,” adding, “Meanwhile, you are directed to suspend these projects with immediate effect until the necessary approval has been sought.”
The new DVLA Chief Cxecutive, Kwasi Agyeman Busia, recently told the media that the Smart Drivers License and Vehicle Registration Cards were expected to be issued within a period of one month and was aimed at flushing out fake licences from the system and do away with middlemen popularly known as ‘goro boys.’
He said that the new licence – which was to have come in the form of a smart card – would contain a chip loaded with the owner’s biometric data. “This will ensure that people who have made duplication an industry will have it extra difficult to duplicate the licence. It will be practically impossible, as it will have enhanced security,” Mr Agyeman Busia was quoted as saying.
“It will also help us manage the revenue that will come to the authority because duplication is causing a lot of revenue leakage, particularly in the driving licence area. Driving licences have become the standard of our authority. We want to make sure this is protected,” he added.
However, the announcement was greeted with uproar, with the public asking for education while others believed that it was not necessary since the current licence was introduced not too long ago.