More than 34,000 driving lincences issued since 2008 are yet to be collected by applicants, the Driver and Vehicle Licencing Authority (DVLA) has revealed.
In terms of annual figures, the list is dominated by 4,629 persons who applied for driving licences between January and May this year.
Out of the number, the 37 DVLA office in Accra alone has 11,167 licences that are waiting to be collected.
Followed by Weija, 7,242; Kumasi, 4,282; Akim Oda, 2,350; Bekwai, I815; Mampong, 1,623; Nkawkaw, 1,412; Obuasi, 1352; Goaso, 1,278 and Bekwai, 1185.
Other DVLA offices on the list are Bolgatanga, Denu and Hohoe.
At a news conference in Accra yesterday, the Chief Executive Officer of the DVLA, Mr Kwasi Agyeman Busia, said the authority would soon publish the names of applicants whose licences were ready for collection in the national dailies.
He also announced the temporary freeze the Ministry of Transport had put on the roll-out of the new smart card licence, hitherto scheduled for July 18, this year.
The DVLA on June 7, announced it would from July 18, this year, introduce a new biometric driving licence.
The objective was to do away with fake licences by eliminatiing the middlemen, popularly known as ‘goro boys’ from the licensing regime.
Mr Busia told the Daily Graphic that the new licence, unlike the previous one, would be difficult to clone.
He explained that the launch had been suspended because of a communication lapse, and that a new date would be communicated to the public as soon as the hurdle was cleared.
Mr Busia added that the new system was meant to reduce inefficiencies associated with processing the licence and the time it took to get to the applicant.
“This combined with the fact that there were a lot of fake licences out there, made it necessary for a new one to be in circulation.
He explained the new system was started in 2014, with a huge investment that should not be allowed to go waste.
“When I came in, looking at the kind of investment we had made and the kind of invoices we had on the product that is yet to be marketed, it was worrisome. So I pushed the agenda that we should have it out as soon as we were technologically able, “he added.
Mr Busia, who refuted allegations that the old licence would be revoked when the new system became operational, said the authority had no intention of doing that.
“The rumour has been that we are revoking the current licence in operation on the date we have projected but that is not correct. You will only get a new one when you are doing an upgrade, renewal or it had expired.
“The idea that on July 18, you will bring your current licence to us and then get the smart card is just a myth,” he added.
He also denied claims that the cost of renewing one’s licence which is currently GH¢45 would jump to GH¢450.
“The talk about being required to pay GH¢450 is not accurate. We hired a consultant to look into all the variables that have gone into the smart card and do a model pricing comparable to similar ones in the region. The figures we have is nowhere close to the GH¢450 being rumoured,” he said.
He said per the figures the DVLA was discussing, it would cost from GH¢50 to GH¢80 for licences to be renewed while that of new applicants was still under discussion.
Cause of delay
The Director, Driver Training, Testing and Licencing of the DVLA, Mr Cheyuo Wienaa Musah, said the Authority had acquired the best in terms of technology (laser printing and engraving) to print the licence to put them ahead of duplicators.
He further explained that the DVLA used to deal with third parties who printed the licence and in the process, misplaced data submitted.
But he said the new system, which operated an enterprise software, enabled the licence to be printed within.
He said the DVLA now had the capacity to print at least 1,500 licences daily. Meanwhile the daily applications were less than 1,000.
“We have ordered enough cards to be able to take care of the printing for the next three years. There is not going to be a point where we will say we have run out of cards.
“When we start printing, we want to assure the poblic that within two to four weeks, licences will be printed and we are working on collaborating with courier companies to deliver them to the applicants instead of them coming to our office,” he added.