Govt. slashing CHOGM cost, limousines to be hired
The Government may rent luxury cars from foreign companies and import them to Sri Lanka on a carnet or temporary permit scheme for re-export after use during the Commonwealth summit to be held here in November. It will also get vehicles from ministries, departments and corporations on similar basis.
While the Government has said there are no plans to import a dozen brand-new Rolls Royce cars, each valued at about US$ 300,000 (duty free) and 100 BMW Seven series cars at US$ 150,000 each, the Sunday Times learns there was such a plan which was however shelved due to the cost.
Officials said all expenditure for CHOGM 2013 would be borne from existing budgetary provisions, and additional funds for this purpose would not be released by the Treasury.
An earlier estimated expenditure of Rs. 6 billion for the summit — including the import of vehicles — has been pruned down to Rs. 3.5 billion due to financial constraints. However, officials say no final decision has been taken on the amount to be cut from the initial allocation of Rs. 6 billion.
A task force secretariat has been set up at the BMICH to carry out the work for CHOGM 2013 and Rs. 217.4 million has been allocated for it. Under the earlier plan, at least Rs. 2.5 billion was to be spent for the import of cars, officials said adding that the Government could not now afford to spend this amount.
CHOGM 2013 will be the largest international summit Sri Lanka will be hosting since it hosted the 5th Non Aligned Movement summit in 1976. The then government headed by Prime Minister Sirima Bandaranaike imported a fleet of brand-new Peugeot 504 cars for the Summit while Holden Statesman cars were brought down for visiting leaders.
Those vehicles were later given to government ministries while some were also sold to the people at a time when the country had severe import restrictions.
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