THE Ministry of Public Works and Transport has proposed introducing personalised license plates in Cambodia next year in a bid to raise funds for the government and road safety projects, officials said.
“We have a draft to make personalised licence plates available for clients, but we need the government to approve it first,” Preap Chanvibol, the director of the Ministry’s Department of Land Transport, said on Tuesday. “But now we plan to make money for the government by collecting funds from personalised licence plates.”
According to the proposal, clients would be able to place any name or number on a personalised licence plate. Half the revenue would go to the state, while the other half would go towards road safety projects, Preap Chanvibol said.
Sann Socheata, road safety programme manager at Handicap International, confirmed that a meeting had taken place yesterday with ministry officials to discuss details of the proposed project.
“The funding will go to road safety projects in general, including public education, enforcement and capacity building programmes,” Sann Socheata said yesterday, adding that the plan, if approved, will be incorporated into the Cambodia National Road Safety Action Plan 2011-20.
“It has been submitted to Prime Minister Hun Sen for approval and should be implemented early next year in March or April, but no one can confirm the exact date as we are still waiting for approval,” Sann Socheata said.
The proposed licence plates are estimated to cost between US$1,000 and $10,000, Preap Chanvibol said, adding that a number of Cambodia’s elite already pay a high price for consecutively numbered plates (eg 7777 or 8888), which are considered lucky.
“Rich people already buy plates with the same four numbers for their cars and pay between $4,000 and $5,000 for one plate because they think that it is a good luck number for them,” Preap said.
“I believe more people will pay between $1,000 and $10,000 for their personalised license plate. They are rich and have a lot of money, so they will want to spend this on their family’s car.”
Sann Socheata welcomed the initiative, saying that it could help to improve road safety programmes in the country and raise much needed revenue.
“Road safety is a serious issue in Cambodia, and it is crucial to have a mechanism for funding projects. This is part of a sustainable funding mechanism,” she said.
According to Preap Chanvibol, funds collected for the government from licence plates currently totals around $5 million to $6 million per year, predicting that if personalised license plates are approved by the government they could raise more than $10 million annually.
“Cambodians like to use personalised numbers because they think it will being peace, prosperity and good luck for themselves,” he said. Some of the “luckier” licence number plates will likely be put up for auction, he added.