The Party and Government have agreed to forgo luxury vehicles in a new bid to curb excessive spending and promote frugality. Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith made the announcement during a two-day meeting on the socio-economic development plan and the budget for 2017.
The Prime Minister raised the issue of frivolous luxury vehicles when addressing central and local departments, singling out leaders driving Mercedez-Benz and BMW brand vehicles. He said that these vehicles would be reclaimed, and sold through a bidding process.
His reasons for the tough stance included the high cost of fuel and maintenance for such vehicles, which are not economical, saying that the value of one Mercedez-Benz was equal to three Toyota vehicles. He then added that he would start with the President’s car, and would of course be pleased to hand his own luxury vehicle back to the state as well.
Top ranking officials and retired leaders make up eleven BMW 7 Series cars, and five Mercedez-Benz (S350 and E350) vehicles. The remainder of the government fleet includes 30 Mercedez-Benz, which were initially purchased for state affairs.
Many leaders currently hold more than one vehicle, and a reduction of surplus vehicles will be considered as well.
New Decree to Govern Use Of Luxury Vehicles
Prime Ministerial Decree No. 81 on the use of state vehicles is now being amended and brought in line with the new push to curb spending, and will likely prohibit the use of luxury vehicles altogether.
Under the amended decree, Politburo members will be entitled to drive a Toyota Camry 3.0, ministers a Camry 2.5, and deputy ministers will be entitled to a Camry 2.0, while other vehicles such as SUVs and pick-up trucks may be provided to leaders as appropriate.
The new decree is expected to clarify regulations on vehicle allocation for civil servants and leading officials, and will outline which vehicles are to be reclaimed upon retirement.