Cabinet Ministers, State Ministers and Deputy Ministers will strictly be restricted to use only two official vehicles, the government has decided.
If a Minister uses more than two vehicles, the Secretary or the Chief Accountant of the relevant Ministry must take the responsibility of expenses for providing more than two official vehicles, the Daily Mirror learns.
Aftermath of the restriction on vehicle imports, the government has decided to put an end to the use of official vehicles given to politicians and top public officials by other members of their family which is illegal and an extra burden to the Treasury, a spokesperson of the Presidential Secretariat said yesterday.
She told Daily Mirror that President Maithripala Sirisena receives complaints from the public on a daily basis that official vehicles issued to Ministers, State Ministers, Deputy Ministers and Ministry Secretaries and heads of semi-government establishments are used by their wives, siblings and other close relatives.
The Presidential Secretariat will issue the circular shortly restricting the use of official vehicles and guidelines to be followed, she added.
“These super luxury vehicles, imported on duty free permits are maintained by the respective Ministry and fuel bill and maintenance costs also borne by the Ministry or the semi-government body. Many of these super luxury cars and Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) cost between US$ 50,000 to 65,000. Therefore, the using of super luxury cars and SUVs for official use has become a burden to the Treasury. A circular is to be issued shortly outlining how official vehicles should be used and instructing to refrain from manipulating the facility,” she added.
A cabinet minister is entitled to get two luxury vehicles maintained by his or her Ministry but there are instances where certain Ministers abuse the privilege and have given vehicles to all family members on the respective Ministry’s expense.
Meanwhile, President Sirisena has also decided not to increase the salaries of the Ministers and MPs and he has informed party leaders.
President Sirisena will not be giving his consent to increase salaries of Parliamentarians if the proposal was submitted to the cabinet.
President Sirisena was of the view that during the past three years, the government has taken steps to increase the salaries and allowances of Ministers and Members of Parliament several times and as such he would reject any proposal to increase his salary as the President or Parliamentarians at a time the public are facing hardship. (Sandun A Jayasekera)