Editor's Comment

Revolutionise road tax payment system

YEAR in, year out, we have a situation where the Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA) is compelled to extend the period of road tax payments.
A few days ago RTSA announced the extension of the road tax payment period by a week.
This has unfortunately become a normal trend where road tax payment process is concerned
This is because, by the time the set payment period, which is usually 14 days, elapses, there would still be meandering queues of motorists to be attended to.
The situation, this time around, has been worsened by the strike at Zampost – the agent that dispenses road tax on behalf of RTSA.
Even without the current crisis, many motorists will attest to the fact that they dread the process of paying road tax not because of the money involved, but the long queues.
When time to pay road tax comes, people literally abandon other engagements to camp at the pay points.
In some instances they will be greeted by breakdown of systems while shunted in long queues.
Those who fail to put up with the long waits are forced to move from one place to another in search of a functional system.
It is disappointing that in this era of technological advancements, RTSA is still struggling to put up a better system for road tax payment.
What RTSA should understand is that keeping people in long queues is not only antique but counterproductive for a country that is in a hurry to develop.
Man-hours are lost which could ordinarily be used to improve the country in various sectors.
While we acknowledge the importance of motorists complying with the road tax regulation, it defeats the whole purpose if it takes away the productivity of a huge chunk of the population.
Many people are in a position to pay the road tax because they are in gainful employment; it is therefore unfair to employers to deprive them of manpower for so many hours.
For instance, some motorists have complained that it took them about three days to pay their road tax.
Given that the country’s vehicle population keeps on growing, RTSA cannot rely on the old ways of doing things.
Efficiency is a key in service delivery.
RTSA should also go a step further to make road tax payment convenient by devising an online system.
In this age of technology where services like banking, purchasing and many others can be done online in the comfort of one’s home or office, RTSA should consider taking the same route.
If RTSA is not only concerned about collecting money from motorists but offering a good service, online payment is the way to go.
What is even more unfortunate is that, in most instances when on one hand the payment systems are inefficient, on the other hand RTSA will go ahead to unleash its traffic officers to pounce on those whose road tax licences have expired.
RTSA is generally appreciated for its comparatively polite officers when dealing with defaulting motorists. We hope that this will continue even in the face of many motorists being unable to genuinely pay these taxes on time.
We also believe that RTSA is working towards improving its efficiency by embracing technology.
We hope that our belief, as is that of the thousands of motorists, is not misplaced.
RTSA should prove that indeed it is on top of the problem.

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