Red light proposed for official use of cars

By Bao Daozu (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-11-23 08:05
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Government is researching issue in run-up to further reform

BEIJING - China plans to further reform the use of government cars in an effort to cut unnecessary expenditure and build a green government, officials of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said.

The central government is currently researching the use of government cars and plans to further reform the use of cars that belong to central government departments and organs of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China.

The NDRC is conducting the research in response to a proposal by a democratic party on curbing the misuse of government cars.

In March, the Revolutionary Committee of the Chinese Kuomintang (RCCK), one of the country's eight democratic parties, submitted a proposal at the annual session of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference on reforming the use of government cars.

The proposal suggested canceling government cars for officials under department and bureau levels and formulating a mechanism for recording and supervising the use of government cars.

It also raised the issue of subsidizing public servants who are not allocated the use of a government car.

Reliable statistics show that a single government car can cost up to 60,000 yuan ($9,034) a year to run, amounting to more than 100,000 yuan a year in some cases, according to the RCCK proposal.

About 2 million cars are used by government officials in China at a cost of 150 billion yuan to 200 billion yuan each year, it said.

However, figures from non-government organizations suggest the actual number of government cars may be 3 million at an annual cost of 300 billion yuan to 400 billion yuan.

While there have been earlier efforts to reform the use of government cars, most of them have not been successful.

"The previous reforms made little progress," Beijing News quoted Pang Jianguo, an official of the Beijing municipal bureau of supervision, as having said.

"The effectiveness of this type of reform is hard to measure and giving subsidies to public servants will put public finances under pressure," he added.

"The reform is stranded partly because the country has no specific disciplinary procedures regarding the misuse of government cars," the RCCK said in an article on its official website, in which it recommended setting up legislation to improve the feasibility of the reform process.

"The deadlock of the reform lies in the vested interest groups, who are the beneficiaries of government cars on one hand and the decision-makers of the reform on the other," said Ye Qing, deputy director of Hubei provincial bureau of statistics and a member of the National People's Congress.

Zhao Yinan contributed to this story.

China Daily