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Govt Takes Steps To Withdraw Excess Vehicles From Leaders 

Source: Vientiane Times

A number of vehicles are expected to be withdrawn from Party and state leaders as well as senior officials after action has been taken to retrieve surplus cars in accordance with a new regulation.

Authorities in charge of the matter met on Tuesday to review the implementation of government decree No. 599 issued in September last year on the regulation of state vehicles.

The decree cut the number of vehicles provided to top-four level leaders, while lower-rank officials were no longer allocated an individual vehicle as before.

However, the exact number of vehicles that have been withdraw is not yet known because figures are being collected from the relevant state bodies, according to a source from the Prime Minister’s Office, who attended the meeting on Tuesday.

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The figures are expected to be fully collected by the end of June.

The vehicles that have been withdrawn will be handed over to state bodies that have insufficient vehicles for state affairs – a move that will save state spending on vehicle purchase.

The withdrawal of vehicles and the ceasing of their provision for lower-ranking officials under the new decree will see the number of vehicles given to leaders and organisations greatly reduced, according to the Pasaxon newspaper, citing a report presented at the meeting.

The meeting was hosted by the Prime Minister’s Office in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance.

The decree reflects the fact that the government is taking steps to fulfill the national austerity policy.

For years, unnecessarily large amounts of the state budget were spent on vehicles used in state affairs, including those used by state officials.

The new decree specifies that top four-level leaders are entitled to a smaller number of vehicles and less petrol.

Top level (level I) leaders will each be given two vehicles – a car and an SUV – and 200 litres of petrol a month. This category comprises the Party Secretary General and state President, Prime Minister, President of the National Assembly, Standing Members of the Party Central Committee’s Secretariat, and all Politburo members.

Level II leaders will also each be given two vehicles – a car and an SUV – and 180 litres of petrol a month. This category comprises members of the Party Central Committee’s Secretariat, Vice President, Deputy Prime Minister, and Vice President of the National Assembly.

Level III leaders will each be given a car and 150 litres of petrol a month. This category includes members of the Party Central Committee, President of the Lao Front for National Development, ministers and holders of equivalent posts.

Level IV leaders will each be provided with a car and 120 litres of petrol a month. This group includes alternative members of the Party Central Committee, deputy ministers and the holders of equivalent posts. A report published last year suggested that the number of state vehicles exceeded 30,000, when led the government to call for the re-allocation of vehicles.

In 2017, state and Party leaders returned 14 luxury and expensive Europe-brand cars, which were replaced by cheaper brands – the move to cut spending.

The latest decree also encourages the use of electric vehicles by state agencies in order to lessen the dependence on oil whose price is skyrocketing, while cutting carbon emissions to protect the environment.

In this regard, the government recently announced that it will purchase electric vehicles for use by senior state leaders by the end of this year.

However, it is not yet known how many electric vehicles will be purchased this year as the government is collecting information from state bodies concerning the number of leaders who require new vehicles.