Senior civil servants now can purchase Tk 14.5m vehicle

The government has backtracked from a prior decision to suspend purchasing all types of new vehicles for government offices to maintain austerity in just a month.

The finance division of the finance ministry issued a circular on Monday to this end. It also raised the maximum allocation for purchasing vehicles from Tk 9.4 million to Tk 14.5 million including registration, duty and taxes.

Earlier on 2 July, the finance ministry issued a circular suspending the purchase of all types of new vehicles for government offices to maintain austerity to tackle the economic crisis induced by the Russia-Ukraine war.

According to the Monday’s circular, officials of grade I and II at various ministries, divisions, departments, and directorates are allowed to purchase vehicles worth of Tk 14.5 million, and in that case, vehicle engine capacity will not exceed 2,700cc.

Officials of grade III and below can purchase vehicles worth Tk 6.5 million; previously, the limit was Tk 5.7 million.

The circular states the revised prices of motor vehicles have been set by considering market prices of cars, sports unity vehicles, pickup vans, microbuses, motorcycles, ambulances, coasters (AC and non-AC) and trucks of various companies, and these prices are to be followed while purchasing and making allocation for vehicles.

According to the circular signed by the deputy secretary of finance division Mohammad Showkat Ullah, allocation for microbus for the use of the government employees has increased to maximum Tk 5.2 million from Tk 4.4 million while allocation for ambulance rose to Tk 5.4 million from Tk 4.4 million, for car Tk 4.5 million from Tk 3.5 million, and allocation for AC caster increased to Tk 7.5 million from Tk 6.9 million.

Besides, allocation for single cabin pickup has increased to Tk 3.8 million from Tk 2.8 million, for double cabin pick up Tk 5.5 million from Tk 4.9 million, and allocation for large AC bus increased to Tk 4.6 million from Tk 4.29 million, it added.

However, the allocation for four types of vehicles remains unchanged. This include Tk 3.2 million for non-AC minibus, Tk 3.9 million for five-tonne truck, Tk 3.1 million for three-tonne truck and Tk 140,000 for motorcycle.

The vehicles will be bought from Tk 65.51 billion allocated in the transport sector in the budget of 2023-24 financial year. Though there was an allocation of Tk 80.80 billion for this purpose in FY2022-23, the amount was reduced to Tk 47.18 billion in the revised budget due to the government’s austerity measure.

Though this has not been mentioned in the directives of the finance division, high officials of the division said the notification will be implemented in cases of buying new vehicles instead of the ones that are 10 years’ old.

Sources from the finance division said the division has devised the strategy for a top official of finance division who has recently taken charge as chief of another division as the official is not interested to use previous vehicle.

The sources also said increasing the allocation is also not illogical as this has been done considering the devaluation of taka in comparison to dollar and hike in price of vehicles in the global market.

Speaking to Prothom Alo about this, South Asian Network on Economic Modeling (SANEM) executive director Selim Raihan said, “The decision is not logical. Maintaining austerity at every level is important as the time is abnormal now. The government could have waited for another year to take decision on buying new vehicles.”