The central government will require an additional three years of use for official vehicles for ministers and governors to reduce the costs of purchasing new cars, media have reported.
The new rule has been applied among all Party and government departments nationwide, the Beijing News reported on Tuesday, quoting Li Hong, former deputy secretary of the Work Committee of the Central Government Departments Under the Communist Party of China Central Committee.
The new rule has not yet been made public, Li said.
Li, a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference national committee, made the comment on the two sessions’ sidelines.
Under the old rules, the cars used by minister-level officials could be replaced as often as every five years, Li said.
These officials will also retain the same cars when they assume new posts, he added.
The new rule also reiterated that officials ranking below ministerial- or governor-levels should not be allocated cars. The cars possessed by their departments should be used on demand.
“It violates the rules” for lower-ranking – even county-level – officials to be allocated cars, Li said.
Purchases of vehicles for official use have been heavily scrutinized, as they account for a large expenditure of public funds every year.
A survey on the Web news portal www.ifeng.com found 64 percent of respondents believed the new rule will be difficult to implement because it is related to officials’ interests.
Local government departments had halted approvals for requests for such vehicles and had started to work on new quotas under the new rules, Li said.
“The future reform of official vehicle use will introduce market mechanisms and monetization,” Li said.
Premier Wen Jiabao said in the annual government work report on Saturday that expenditures on such vehicles will not increase in 2011 compared with a year ago.
Beijing’s standing deputy mayor Ji Lin last week said the municipal government will release the number of vehicles for official use in the capital as early as at the end of this month.
Earlier this month, the Ministry of Finance had published a rule regulating the budgets for such vehicles.