LAHORE: Facing an increasingly uphill battle to fully digitize the legal transfer of vehicles when they are bought and sold, the Punjab Provincial Department of Excise and Narcotics Control (ET&NC) has suspended biometric verification for two months.
The effort to use biometric verification has been an old objective of different provincial governments to bring the sale of cars and motorcycles to the public registry. At the beginning of January this year, ET&NC had completely abolished the manual car/motorcycle ownership registration and transfer system effective January 11 this year.
However, this had been followed by a sudden drop in registered vehicles. People continued to buy and sell cars, except without biometric registration. This resulted in many problems regarding the transfer of ownership and also meant that ET&NC faced a significant drop in the revenue they earned from these registrations.
When the announcement was first made, the then director of Lahore Region Motors ET&NC Qamar Ul Hasan Sajjad had said Profit in a meeting and confirmed that the department had faced problems after the switch to biometrics.
“That does not mean that the biometric system cannot be said to be faulty or has failed. Since the system is now transparent. At first, the problem was definitely that people did not understand the new system well, and second, that the system was new, so the department had to face a lot of technical problems. It was our dream to implement this system and it has been implemented at the right time,” he said.
In response to the question about the revenue shortfall, Sajjad said that when ET&NC gave the deadline of December 31, 2020 to finish the manual registration system, everyone had reached the ET&NC office for manual registration at that time.
“There was such a rush that we had to extend. A total of 28,000 applications were processed in ten days requesting the registration and transfer of vehicles and this number was the highest at any given time. This is the reason why the number of applications decreased as soon as the biometric system was implemented because people have already taken advantage of it, ”he said.
It is pertinent to mention here that the vehicle and motorcycle registration system in Punjab has been linked with the NADRA system and the registration of a new vehicle or change of ownership of an old vehicle cannot be done without on-site verification of print. of the thumb. However, this facility is available at 6000 NADRA E-Facility Centers and 45 Excise Offices in Punjab.
Another senior official from ET&NC’s motor branch, while justifying the biometric system, said that the biometric system has made it impossible to fraudulently register vehicles. “The most important thing is that now this whole system has become paperless and you don’t even need to visit the excise office,” he said.
“You deposit the e-pay registration or transfer fee and visit your nearest electronic facility center for verification and the vehicle will be registered in your name. Similarly, if the vehicle is to be transferred to someone else’s name, it is not necessary for both people to come to the same city or place. If they get their verification at the NADRA electronic installation centers available in their respective cities, the vehicle will be transferred to their name sitting at home. In this new system, even if the documents of your vehicle are lost, the value of your vehicle will not decrease because the record of duplicate documents in the system has been eliminated”.
Subsequently, due to the biometric system, numerous vehicles that were to be transferred ownership were stopped. Nasir Mushtaq, a car dealer showroom owner in the city of Johar, said Profit that many vehicles could not be sold on the market without biometrics available.
“The first thing is that car dealers not only sell our clients’ cars but also buy cars on the market at investor prices. In the manual process of changing ownership of a vehicle, a letter of transfer was taken from the owner and later the name of the buyer of said vehicle was written on the letter and the ownership of the vehicle was changed. We had hired several agents for this job who used to go to the excise office and for the registration and change of ownership of the vehicles. The sale of said vehicles was only possible if ET&NC gave us some time in which the showroom owners could take possession of said vehicles,” he added.
However, on the other hand, the director of ET&NC Motors, Iftikhar Ghani, reported that 50 percent of vehicle and motorcycle owners will benefit from the suspension of the biometric system. “All vehicles that are on the market in open transfer letters will be able to change ownership,” he added.