Home | News | GOVT’S E800M TO BUY CARS


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image Some of the new BMWs for the Cabinet ministers, bought at over E20 million last year.

MBABANE – Even though it struggles to meet its other financial obligations like purchasing medical supplies, increasing elderly social grants and paying fees for orphaned and vulnerable children (OVCs) government has close to E800 million stashed somewhere.

The exact amount, as at the end of March 2014, is E794 821 360.
It has been confirmed that it is solely to purchase vehicles, as and when government decides there is a need for such.
The money is safely kept under the Plant and Vehicles Renewals Fund.

According to documents in this newspaper’s possession, this fund usually has a surplus, which means government never runs short of money to buy cars.
Last year, government bought BMW X5 sports utility vehicles for all Cabinet ministers, Parliament Presiding Officers and other top government officials.
When this newspaper broke the story then, Lindiwe Dlamini, Minister of Public Works and Transport, said the vehicle supplier had given government a discount on the cars because they were being purchased in bulk. Each SUV cost government around E800 000.  Contacted for comment this time around, the minister said she could only respond once she had seen the Treasury Annual Report depicting the stated figures. She was out of the country when she was contacted during the course of the past week.

The Treasury report shows that the Plant and Vehicles Renewal Fund had a surplus balance brought forward, from the previous financial year, of E694 999 752. Earnings for the financial year stood at E99 821 360.02.
According to the documents government spent E183 million to purchase vehicles for various ministries and departments in the 2013/2014 financial year, through the Central Transport Administration.
This government garage is now known as the Central Transport Organisation (CTO). There was a surplus of E611 800 439.80, giving the overall balance as E794 821 360.02.
The Times SUNDAY wanted to know why the money was not being utilised to meet other financial obligations, which government seems to be struggling with.

One of these is the purchase of anti-retroviral medication, the payment of school fees for government-funded orphaned and vulnerable children (OVCs) and increasing the social grant paid to the elderly by a significant amount. In the 2014/15 budget, which takes effect on April 1, 2015, elderly men and women will enjoy an increase of only E20 per month on their grants.
They are currently paid E220 and will soon get E240.  That is if Parliament’s wishes for the grant to be increased to E300 per month are unsuccessful. Government Spokesperson Percy Simelane said government funds could not just be moved anyhow.
He said there were guiding budgeting and procurement regulations which stipulated that funds should be spent on what they had been sourced for.
“If not used, there should be a convincing explanation by the ministry to which the budget was allocated, before it could be moved to be used in the following financial year. If the explanation is not convincing, the money is deposited into the Consolidated Fund,” Simelane said. 

Comments (2 posted):

Mpendulo on 08/03/2015 07:23:02
This gotta be a joke, so cars are a main priority over the health sector???
Magic man on 08/03/2015 17:00:46
wow we buying cars but some of the people in the rural ares are hungry

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