Govt Plates Must Be Removed From Private Vehicles

The government has instructed officials to remove state-owned number plates from private vehicles which previously belonged to the state and car owners must pay customs, tax and other fees.

Those vehicles provided to administrative-level officials of state departments, state funds, and state enterprises are required to have their ownership rights changed after the officials retire, or the vehicles must be returned to the state departments.

In a new Prime Ministerial Decree issued recently, the government has demanded that state-owned or state enterprise-owned number plates must be removed from those vehicles within one month if they have had their ownership rights changed.

State-owned vehicles have been converted into individual ownership through several forms including sale at market-based prices, sale with a special policy for officials as well as awarded to officials with outstanding virtues for state affairs, according to the State Property Management Department of the Ministry of Finance.

However a number of individual owners were believed to have not changed their vehicle status and keep attaching state-owned number plates, which enjoy an exemption of customs, tax and related fees.

A senior official from the department said information on the numbers of private vehicles previously belonging to the state and still holding state-owned number plates is not available, confirming that the ministries do not update the information to the finance ministry.

According to the 16-page decree on frugality in a bid to rein in lavish practices issued last month, the government has instructed the replacement of the number plates within one month of the sale or handover of state-owned vehicles.

As a result, the new owners of the cars will be required to pay tax, customs and related fees in accordance with the relevant regulations and laws.

In case the replacement is not made by the deadline, the authorities in charge will be asked to remove the state number plates immediately and not to extend vehicle documents.

The government is taking serious steps to tighten state spending in a move to make the most effective use of the state budget, the budget of state enterprises and resources.

Under the decree, all state departments and enterprises are prohibited from purchasing luxury vehicles.

Vehicles to be purchased for work use or for use by administrative-level officials must not exceed 400 million kip in price. Any such purchases must go through a bidding process.

In addition, state departments and enterprises are prohibited from holding seminars or training sessions in hotels, restaurants and other commercial venues except for events financed by ODA that has been approved by donors for that use.

They are also prohibited from spending state or state enterprise funds on expensive alcoholic drinks for parties and receptions.

Source: Vientiane Times

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