Zero fleet policy saves govít Rwf18b
The Government has saved about Rwf18 billion since the introduction of the Zero Fleet policy in 2005, officials have said.
Under the policy, the government auctioned most of its vehicles, and instead initiated a subsidised loan and allowance scheme for senior officials, based on a sliding scale of seniority.
The current cost-sharing arrangement means that the government no longer spends billions on maintenance of the vehicles.
Speaking to The New Times, the acting Director of Transport in the Ministry of Infrastructure, Innocent Kabogoza, said several public transport agencies have been established as a result of the policy.
“When we auctioned off the vehicles, people set up transport agencies and many government officials resorted to using public means which boosted the transport business in the country,” said Kabogoza.
Government auctioned 4,000 vehicles from a fleet of 5,000.
According to a 2008 study carried out by UK consultants hired by the ministry of infrastructure, the government has been saving over Rwf2.5 billion annually since the policy was effected.
“We are currently recruiting bidders to evaluate and determine how much the government has saved through this policy (zero fleet), as we now have new ministries and new institutions that were created,” Kabogoza said.
The beneficiaries of the zero fleet policy is made of three categories led by the joint equity vehicle loan scheme that includes ministers, state ministers, permanent secretaries, mayors, vice mayors and executive secretaries. It has 848 officials.
The second category is the subsidiary scheme which has 1500 officials. This comprises directors of decentralised government entities and executive secretaries of districts’ sectors.
The third category, which is a special group of 192 officials, is comprised senior academics of higher learning institutions, senior medical doctors and members of parliament. A beneficiary under this category is only eligible for a full tax payment of up to Rwf18 million for the purchase of a new vehicle.
An official fully owns the vehicle after four years once the terms of the agreement are fulfilled.
The government, however, may revise a decision to offer tax free vehicles to Directors General, local government authority officials, among others, owing to limited resources.
According to the Ministry of Public Service and Labour, the decision to implement the scheme may “have hurriedly been taken”.
The Prime Minister has requested the Ministry of Finance to review the loan scheme and devise one that is more affordable.