The cabinet on Thursday decided to cancel a previous competition for the purchase of limos for state officials, to be replaced by a new competition for the procurement of electric vehicles exclusively.

Transport Minister Alexis Vafeadis told reporters that his proposal to the cabinet, which got the green light, involves cancelling the previous competition for the purchase of 32 hybrid vehicles, with an option for buying three more hybrids.

“For the new specifications, we will follow the model for purchasing 29 purely electric cars, plus three plug-in hybrids, with an option for one more electric car and two more hybrids,” he said.

The change to the vehicle specs, he added, is so that the government can procure purely electric, zero-emission vehicles “in order that we adapt to the state’s intentions vis a vis the green transition, while at the same time the specifications will involve cars used by the public at large.”

The government assesses that the change will bring down the cost of purchase, with maintenance costs likewise being negligible.

Back in March, the incoming administration of Nikos Christodoulides put on pause a request for the release of around €3 million earmarked for the purchase of state vehicles, including 35 limos for officials.

That request had been made to parliament by the previous government of Nicos Anastasiades, on February 24 this year.

Media outlets at the time suggested that the new president did not want one of the first acts of his government associated with the replacement of limos for state officials.

Filed by the finance ministry under the previous administration, the request had involved the release of €3.09 million in total – covering the purchase of 35 limos for state officials (worth €1.78 million), just over €1 million for the purchase of 32 electrical vehicles for government departments and agencies, plus €240,000 for the purchase of three tractors for agricultural purposes.

The funds in question were included in the 2023 state budget. Like many other items in the budget, they had been ‘crossed’ – marked as pending parliamentary approval.