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March 15, 2019

Austerity drive: 24 luxury cars couldn’t be sold

Top Story

March 15, 2019

ISLAMABAD: The austerity drive on account of selling official vehicles undertaken by the PTI government could not achieve the desired results as 24 luxury-protected vehicles have not been sold due to low bidding. Now the FBR has decided to send them back to the Prime Minister’s Office and other departments.

Also, now the Finance Division was all set to propose abolition of ‘entertainment and gifts’ related budgetary allocations before the federal cabinet next week as it is scheduled to meet under the chairmanship of PM Imran Khan on coming Tuesday.

However, these all measures had so far failed to create any impact on curtailing the yawning budget deficit, which is heading towards crossing absolute figure of deficit in the history of Pakistan.

Official documents available with The News disclosed that after making seven attempts to auction total 49 vehicles, half of them or 25 were sold out while remaining 24 could not be auctioned after making several attempts in last six months. Now the FBR has given written reply to authorities concerned that the remaining 24 official vehicles should be returned to PM Office or respective ministries/departments.

These vehicles may be returned to the respective departments for official purpose such as for visits of foreign dignitaries/delegation to fully benefit the high cost protective/special features designed for the purpose instead of being disposed of at lower values, said the official sources.

There is another proposal floated that these vehicles might be transferred to bigger markets such as in Karachi and Lahore for making last ditch efforts to auction them. The official sources told The News on Thursday that 49 vehicles were surrendered to FBR’s Model Customs Collectorate under the instruction of PM Office for disposal under auction rules notified vide SRO 450 (1) 2001 dated 18-06-2001. Three vehicles were surrendered by Prime Minister’s House, 9 by Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 27 by Cabinet Division and 10 by Intelligence Bureau (IB) to the FBR for the purpose of auction.

The first auction of these vehicles was conducted by the department on 17-09-2018 wherein these could not be disposed of and so far they had made all out seven efforts wherein 25 vehicles were sold to the highest bidders. However, despite best efforts, 24 vehicles could not be disposed of even after 7 rounds of auction primarily because 20 out of them have protective and other features which made them expensive for general buyers.

After repeated auctions and in spite of reduction in reserved prices, reasonable bids could not be fetched for these vehicles. Further reduction in reserved price may not be desirable which may cause sale of these at unnecessary below prices.

In view of these facts, the sources said that the FBR has a desire to continue putting 4 non-protective vehicles for subsequent auction, however, for disposal of 20 protective-cum-luxury vehicles, certain options may be considered including these vehicles may either be placed on auction in Karachi or Lahore being bigger markets with possible higher number of potential buyers or alternatively these vehicles may be returned to the respective departments for official purpose such as for visit of foreign dignitaries/delegation to fully benefit the high cost protective/special features designed for the purpose and instead of being disposed of at lower values.

The PTI-led government desired auctioning luxury vehicles such as bulletproof vehicles BMW (760Li) 2014, 2 Mercedes cars (Maybach S600)2016, 2 Mercedes cars (S600L) 2016, 5 Mercedes cars (S500, 600)2005, Mercedes Limousine 2005, 2 Toyota Land Cruiser 2008 and 2015, Luxury Jeep 2005 and 3 Mercedes Jeep 2005.

Other vehicles which were on the auctions list included BMW (X5) 2016, 14 Mercedes cars (S300)93, Lexus jeep 2006, Mitsubishi Pejero 2004, 2006, 2 Mitsubishi Lancer 94, 2 Nissan Jeep 90, 2 Cherokee jeep 95, 3 Toyota Corolla 86 and 91.

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