Workers in duty-free vehicle windfall

GOVERNMENT has given the Public Service Micro Finance Company (PSMFC) K2 million to start the process of buying duty-free vehicles for senior and middle management government officials.
This is a vehicle empowerment loan meant to cut down Government expenses as directed by President Lungu.
In his national address on November 26, 2015, President Lungu directed that cost-saving measures be implemented by cancelling the personal-to-holder vehicle system for government officials in the wake of challenges affecting the country because of external and internal activities as well as the fall in commodity prices and strengthening of the US dollar.
PSMFC chief executive officer Mubanga Mwiko said yesterday at the PSMFC meeting with car dealers that the micro-finance company will, through credible car dealers, manage to buy over 100 vehicles per month.
Mr Mwiko said Government wants to save costs as it has spent in excess of K1.2 billion to buy over 4,000 vehicles for civil servants between 2011 and 2015.
“Civil servants will now buy duty-free vehicles through PSMFC in form of a loan which will be deducted from their salaries,” he said.
Mr Mwiko said Government will be responsible for the maintenance of the vehicles adding that fuel allowance to the beneficiaries will be given.
The vehicles in question will be used for government duties but owners can sell them when they clock 150,000 kilometres or stayed for five years.
“Today, we are meeting you [car dealers] to negotiate for favourable and affordable packages for duty free motor vehicles for the loan scheme,” Mr Mwiko said.
He said the loans are not mandatory as would-be beneficiaries are free to decline but, that they will not be entitled to personal-to-holder vehicles except fuel allowance.
“Eligible officers will drive themselves on assignments within and outside the station and Government will continue to service all such vehicles,” he said.
Some dealers urged Government to have an exclusive system by engaging all stakeholders such as the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) to ensure that the system runs smoothly.

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