Money charged for private use of govt vehicles
Updated: 2011-02-24 07:36
By Zheng Caixiong (China Daily)
GUANGZHOU - Officials in this city will have to pay when they want to use their government cars for private purposes later this year, a senior city official said.
The price charged in such circumstances is expected to be between 1.5 yuan ($0.23) and 1.7 yuan a kilometer, below the 2.6 yuan a kilometer charged by local taxis, according to Su Zhijia, deputy Party chief of Guangzhou.
"And officials will also have to apply for an approval in advance if they want to use official cars for non-official purposes during the weekends or holidays," Su told deputies of the Guangzhou People's Congress and members of the Guangzhou Committee of Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) during ongoing sessions of both organizations.
Government cars in Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong province, will be monitored after being equipped by June with Global Positioning Systems (GPS) devices, said Su, who is also head of the city's Party discipline inspection authority.
Guangzhou is expected to become the first city in Guangdong province to install GPS devices on all government cars and ask officials to pay for the use of government cars for private purposes.
Su promised to frequently disclose data collected through the supervision.
Many lawmakers, political advisers and local residents have welcomed the use of GPS devices in the city's government cars.
Han Zhipeng, a member of Guangzhou Committee of CPPCC, said GPS devices will make the authorities' fleet of cars easier to manage, reduce the number of government cars that are used for non-official purposes and cut the government's expenditures on such vehicles.
Chen Changxing, a Guangzhou white-collar worker, said the authority to charge for the private use of government cars will reduce the number of official cars traveling city streets and roads, particularly during weekends and holidays.
"In addition to a reduction of government spending, this will contribute to easing heavy traffic jams in the following months," Chen told China Daily on Wednesday.
According to Zhang Jieming, director of the Guangzhou bureau of finance, the government spends from 25,000 yuan to 35,000 yuan a year on each government car, paying for parking fees, tolls, gasoline and similar expenses. The government also pays each government driver a monthly salary of about 5,000 yuan.
"Many government cars have been found to be frequently used for non-official duties in past years," Zhang said.
Guangzhou's Huangpu district government, the city's bureau of finance and the Chengguan (urban administration) authorities took the lead in the city's pilot project by equipping their government cars with GPS over the past year.
The cost to operate those government cars dropped 24 percent after they were equipped with the devices.
Guangzhou has more than 31,000 registered government cars while Guangdong province is estimated to have about 410,000.
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