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Who else thinks this Mandatory Vehicle Inspection isn’t what it should be?
Collins Mugume
Posted: 5 months 4 weeks

Before I even get into this post, let me make this clear. I have NOTHING against vehicle inspection or any measures that are put in place to ensure #RoadSafety. I have been in three road accidents myself and I can tell you Road Safety is nothing to take lightly.

Ok, with that out of the way, If you own a vehicle or a bike in Uganda, then you have probably heard about the Mandatory vehicle inspection that was passed as a regulation in 2016. If you haven’t heard about it, newsflash! All vehicles MUST be taken to SGS Inspection Centers where they will be tested for roadworthiness. There is a deadline too.. June 2017 – so you basically have less than 4 months to get there.

The Mandatory Inspection is not free or even cheap! – Well, Cheap is relative. Take a look at the costs

I need some clarity on what exactly is checked. If you have taken your vehicle there, please share your experience with me. Tweet me @cmugume and lets have a chat.

From their website, here is what you need to check for yourself before you get there;

Before bringing your vehicle in for inspection, there are a few things you can check to maximise your chances to pass.

– Lights

• Ensure all your headlights are working and that none are damaged in any way

• Headlights, indicator lights, hazard warning lights, rear lights, brake lights, number-plate lights and reversing lights must all be in proper working order.

• Check that all reflectors are working properly.

• Always have a spare set of bulbs in the car.

– Brakes

• If your vehicle pulls slightly to one side when you brake, this may be a sign that your brakes are not working correctly, or that there is a brake imbalance. Have them checked and, if necessary, replaced before your roadworthy test.

• Check your brake fluid. Low brake-fluid levels may indicate a leak in the brake line, which will need repair.

– Tyres

• Check for tyre wear and tyre pressure. If your tyres are worn or deformed (bulges), change them.

• If you see excessive wear on one side of the tyre, this means your vehicle has steering-geometry problems and/or worn suspension components, which must be corrected.

• Current legislation states that tyre tread depth should be at least 1.6 mm across the entire breadth of the tyre.

– Vehicle registration plates

• Ensure that your license plates are securely fitted and are not damaged, cracked or discoloured.

– Outside checks

• Make sure there are no oil stains on the ground in the place where you normally park.

• The glasses of your vehicle must comply with the legislation.

• Doors and windows must open and close properly.

• There should be no sharp edges on the vehicle’s bodywork.

• Make sure that your windscreen wipers and wing mirrors are correctly attached to the vehicle.

– Inside checks

• Ensure that the locking/release mechanisms for all seatbelts are working properly and that no seatbelt is torn or damaged.

• Check that the car horn is operating correctly.

• Ensure that all seats are properly secured and in good condition

This is pretty much the checklist that is done almost every time I take my vehicle for service, what am I paying the 110,212 UGX for? Is it for the sticker?Car service for a Toyota will cost you just about that much – so basically one pays the cost of service only be told what his/her vehicle is missing! Why not put some of that money on replacing some of those items then one can get value for money?

Additionally, so I have brought my vehicle for inspection and it passed, after 30 days I bring it back and it passes again. On route home, I hit a pothole (Which you can’t miss in this Kampala) and BOOM!!– suspensions gone, then… side indicator lights are stolen while I parked at the supermarket to get milk for my son. What will the inspection have achieved? Right there and then as my vehicle is no longer roadworthy. It has dead suspensions, missing side indicator lights… Yet, has a PASSED INSPECTION sticker right there on the windscreen.

What’s the point? Will the inspection have achieved anything?

You do not carry out one time inspection for a problem that could happen any day and any time. What you need are regular inspections on different routes where drivers with vehicles that are not roadworthy are given tickets to have their vehicles repaired in a set timeline or they pay a fine.

What can be done about the current Inspection system?

Simple, Inspect the car and if it does not pass, give the owner a timeline within which to fix it and if they don’t get it fixed, they pay the 110,212UGX as a fine.

Here is the biggest benefit for this car inspection that many people are missing, the data collected! Right now as it stands, if you wanted to get good data about vehicles in Uganda, you would have to reference information from three sources, URA which registers private cars, Chief Mechanical Engineer that registers Government cars and the Ministry of defense. If you are looking for details about accident cars/written off vehicles, then you go to the Inspector of Vehicles.

Now, take a second and imagine what it means if SGS is able to collect all this information about all the vehicles on the road in Uganda. This is data that will be very useful to parastatals like UNRA, KCCA and the rest in planning both for things like public transportation and road networks.

I see all this value and recommend it, but my question is should the private car owners that pay HEAVY taxes to own vehicles be the ones to meet the cost of collecting this data – since reducing the vehicle accidents on the road cannot be the primary reason?

Lets put this money into perspective; Here are the rough figures of vehicle numbers in Uganda calculated from the last data collected from National Transport Master Plan, there is an average growth of 11% annually and 50% of these vehicles are in great Kampala metropolitan area.

With the current accidents and condition of the cars imported in Uganda, you can say 20% of these cars are already written off. That gives you 63,897,408,563 UGX. Lets further assume that only 50% of all the vehicles will be inspected, that gives you 31,948,704,281 UGX as the money that will be collected by SGS.

Here is another scenario that can be considered:

Right now, we are at UBA …C series. Every letter series has 1,000 Vehicles, and all letters of the alphabet are used except “o” and “i”. Simple math, UAA …A to Z, minus o and i, gives you 24,000 Vehicles.

Now do the math for UAB – UAZ, that will give you 576,000 vehicles. With the earlier accidents and condition of the cars imported in Uganda assumption,  20% of the cars mostly from the UAA – UAG models are already written off. That give you about 460,800 vehicles. This is not including the tax exempted cars and duty free vehicles (That is the vehicles with white numbers on red or blue background plates).

Using an average of 94,670 UGX (Which is the average of the SGS costs shown earlier) it would be 43,623,936,000 UGX to inspect all the vehicles. Well this is the best case scenario. Lets assume that only 50% of all the vehicles will be inspected, that still give you 21,811,968,000 UGX.

Question is, where is this money going? If it is to facilitate SGS to carry out this inspection service, is it fair for the car owner to be the one to incur this cost?

I leave it to you.

For a more detailed breakdown of the costs, view original blog here