Prime Minister Puts The Brakes on New Vehicles

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Reclaimed luxury state vehicles go to auction
Reclaimed luxury state vehicles go to auction.

Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith warned provincial leaders against purchasing new vehicles from the state budget, saying it is against the government’s policy on austerity.

Vientiane Times reports that Prime Minister Thongloun made the comment at a finance, planning, and investment sector meeting in Vientiane last year.

“Some provinces have issued orders for new cars, however, this should not be done unless absolutely necessary,” he was quoted as saying.

According to the Vientiane Times, the number of state vehicles already exceeds 30,000 in number, with the PM asking state bodies to re-allocate vehicles for appropriate use.

The Prime Minister mentioned that the growing number of vehicles on the road, including state vehicles, is causing traffic congestion.

In the past, senior officials taking up new positions have often been provided a new vehicle. But the prime minister wishes to end this practice in line with his policy on austerity.

Following the Party Congress, during which new leaders were elected for the next five years, Prime Minister Thongloun was elected Secretary-General of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party, giving him the authority to voice his concerns regarding extravagant practices.

He warned that the state budget should be used only for essential requirements as Laos faces financial difficulties and rising public debt during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Following his election to Prime Minister in 2016, PM Thongloun launched cost-cutting measures within Party and government, seeking to curb extravagance.

He famously reclaimed luxury vehicles from Party and government leaders for sale at auction, replacing them with more modest models.