Malawi Government has ordered the Road Traffic Directorate (RTD) and the Road Traffic Department of the Malawi Police Service (MPS) to stop penalising motorists whose vehicles still bear the old number plates.
Malawi’s Minister of Transport and Public Works Mohammad Sidik Mia said this in Parliament on Thursday when member of Parliament (MP) for Dedza South West Clement Mlombwa asked him to give an update on the exercise.
Said Mia: “In fact, we have already ordered the Road Traffic Directorate and the police to stop penalising road users because of number plates. Those with old number plates can now drive freely because no one will bother them on this issue.”
But Dedza North West MP Alekeni Menyani asked the minister to further explain what government will do with people who already changed their number plates and are now using new ones bearing the controversial 2010 national flag which has since been replaced with the independence flag with the rising sun.
Mia said there will be no action until the new number plates expire.
“We will wait until the new number plates expire and that is after five years. For now, both number plates can be used, but after five years the new number plates will expire and we will revert to old ones,” he said.
Initially, government set May 1 2012 as the deadline for all vehicles to bear new number plates, but the exercise met a lot of resistance from vehicle owners. However, in February this year, traffic police officers fined motorists using old number plates without the national flag.
Later in the afternoon, Parliament continued scrutinising allocations in the Mid-Term Budget Review.
By the end of business yesterday, Parliament had approved 10 votes, but Minister of Finance Ken Lipenga had to defer the vote for the Office of the Vice-President whose allocation has been revised upwards by about K291 million (about $746 153) from almost K300 million (about $769).
The passed votes included Education, Science and Technology; Foreign Affairs; Finance; Local Development Fund, Unforeseen Expenditures; Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA); Subvented Organisations and the Road Fund Administration.