By Peter Stevenson
DEPUTIES yesterday completed their discussion on a bill to curb politicians and state officials’ privileges by agreeing that the number of officials eligible for state cars will be slashed dramatically.
The proposal will be voted on during Thursday’s plenum.
The president, House president, ministers, the government spokesperson, undersecretary to the president, head of the Supreme Court, the attorney-general and former presidents and house presidents will have the right to a state car and driver with fuel and maintenance allowance.
This is a huge reduction from the number of vehicles previously allocated to state, semi-government and local authorities’ officials.
The House finance committee – where the new bill was discussed – was given two incomplete lists in June which showed that at least 117 luxury cars were being enjoyed by various officials. Deputies learned that the telecoms company CyTA had the most luxury cars, counting nine for its chairman and directors, compared to two for the electricity authority (EAC).
Speaking after the meeting, head of the committee, Nicolas Papadopoulos said discussions resulted in a complete settlement on the matter which was fair and respected public sentiment.
He explained that the whole issue is not aimed only at specific state officials but for all the officials of the central government and the wider public sector, including local government officials, municipalities and semi-government organisations.
Papadopoulos added that other benefits will also be affected such as the use of privileged airline seats and the use of promotional rooms in hotels, all of which will be prohibited, except in special cases.
He said that the cars supplied will have restrictions on the amount of carbon dioxide emissions and an engine capacity of two litre maximum. The president’s car will not have any restrictions, for security reasons.
Government officials will only be permitted to use their state cars during working hours and not on a 24-hour basis, Papadopoulos explained.
He expressed the hope that passing the law will put an end to discussions surrounding the benefits of state officials.