The government resolve to cut down unnecessary public expenditure will be implemented “comprehensively and not be confined to merely phasing out ministers’ posh cars”, a cabinet minister said yesterday.
“It is a long-term government’s initiative…expecting to touch on many aspects. It’s not about cars alone,” William Lukuvi, Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), said yesterday in an exclusive telephone interview.
The minister said the government had drafted a comprehensive and long-term plan which seeks to cut costs of running state organs, institutions and ministries, from central government down to the local authority levels.
President Jakaya Kikwete and Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda, according to the minister Lukuvi, had already issued directives requiring accounting officers in different government ministries, departments and local authorities, to draw up viable plans to reduce public expenditure.
Implementation of the entire plan, he said, involved many aspects, noting: “If you make investigations, you will find that seminars, workshops, foreign trips (in public circles) have been greatly reduced in public offices.”
Referring to the purchase of posh cars, he said the government cannot ground all expensive vehicles used by ministers at “a go, clarifying: “Doing that would amount to deliberate violation of procurement laws and regulations.”
Government vehicles were being purchased in accordance with the country’s procurement laws and regulation, he said, adding: “Tenders are announced to pick competent suppliers. Declaring publicly that Tanzania Government would now be purchasing a particular car make for its officials is against the laws and best business practices.”
“Under the current plan (aimed at reducing public expenditure) the government would purchase vehicles on the basis of engine capacity and allocate them to officials.
It’s not automatic that all ministers or ministry directors or district directors, would be given RV4s. We are not purchasing brand names…we have set specifications (CC) for purchase of cars manufactured by different companies,” said Lukuvi.
“Reducing costs of running government entities is the core-instruction of the PM. He is very serious about the issue,” noted minister.
Speaking on “The 45 Minutes Programme” aired by ITV last week, Minister Lukuvi said that the Prime Minister had stopped issuing permits for the procurement of government vehicles to state entities, adding that some directors under his office are now using Toyota RV4 cars.
He said should any pressing need to buy cars arise then the prime minister would allow Land Cruiser hard tops and double cabin vehicles to be bought and not the over 200 million/- each four-wheel drives.