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Introduction of electronic database by DVLA good news

BY: Daily Graphic
Kwesi Agyeman Busia
Kwesi Agyeman Busia

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) has said that beginning June this year, vehicle owners who register their vehicles will be given smart cards which will contain every information on the vehicles.

That is because all documentation at the authority would have been digitised and, therefore, new registrations would also go straight into an electronic database.

So far, documentation covering vehicles registered from 1995 to 2016 has been converted from manual to electronic formats, in line with the reforms at the authority.

The Deputy Director in charge of Management Information Systems (MIS) at the DVLA, Mr Alex Owusu Abebrese, in an interview with the Daily Graphic, explained that vehicle chassis numbers would now become the module by which information on the vehicle would be accessed.

The measure is to prevent fraud in the system and the security of documentation, while making it possible for biometric features to be introduced to link owners to their vehicles in the electronic database.

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The advantages of digitisation include its adaptability to different platforms and interfaces and making information an invaluable soft resource that feeds into other systems, as others also reserve a certain right to port into the system in a symbiotic relationship for various uses.

The DVLA can actually leverage the resource to make extra income if it decides to monetise aspects of the database.

For instance, institutions that require authentication of customer information can access the digital database the DVLA is seeking to set up.

On the other hand, such digital platforms allow for ‘audit trails’ — arrangements that take record of the uses of the database, including identities of users and what exactly they did when they went online.

This creates a more robust system, a living ecosystem, as opposed to the manual regime where files could be surreptitiously picked, copied and used for whatever purposes, mostly with the connivance of officials of the authority.

There are concerns that so many vehicles on the roads are not road worthy, with others lacking the necessary documentation or not paying the required annual fees charged because the manual system allows unscrupulous individuals to cheat the system.

Digitisation, the Daily Graphic believes, will also enhance the work processes and turnaround time at the authority. We also believe that it is the way to go in the 21st century where, globally, almost everything is being digitised.

If it accomplishes this feat, the DVLA will be ready for the unfolding Internet of Things (IoT) era when digitisation and the Internet will be the driver of development.

Since the country does not produce vehicles locally, import duties on vehicles form a chunk of government revenue.

The Daily Graphic is glad that the database being built will interface with the port clearance system for authentication in ensuring that every vehicle registered has paid the required duty.

We urge the leadership of the DVLA to focus on the reforms it has started at the authority.

The issue of ‘goro boys’ has existed for a long time without any meaningful solution.

Talk of cheats at the authority has also reached a crescendo and the authority must stand up to fight and completely weed it out of the system.

The easier and more efficient its services become, the more willing customers will be to pay for user fees and the taxes the state institutes for collection by the DVLA.

However, the Daily Graphic urges the authority to install robust system protection software and firewalls to secure the database, as hacking is fast becoming a worrying development in the country in recent times.