Guangdong to auction most of official cars
South China's Guangdong Province is determined to speed up the reform in the use of the province's almost 500,000 official cars this year, Xie Guliang, deputy director of the Guangdong Provincial Bureau of Supervision, said Tuesday.
More than 1 billion yuan (US$120 million) is spent on the province's 450,000 official cars annually.
Except for some official cars that are used by police, courts, foreign affairs departments, hospitals and emergency centres, all the official cars will either be auctioned or sold to individuals within three years, Xie said.
The move aims to reduce the financial burden and prevent officials' corruption, said Xie.
China's other provinces and municipalities are expected to follow the example of Guangdong, nationally accepted as pioneer in the reform of official vehicles.
In Shunde and Sanshui districts in Foshan, a city in the province, a total of 161 official cars were auctioned on Sunday.
Local governments raised more than 13.5 million yuan (US$1.64 million) from the car sales.
And in early July, Guangzhou's Tianhe District government also auctioned 43 official cars, raising a total of 3.45 million yuan (US$418,700).
After the official cars were auctioned, car use privileges for local government officials and executives from local State-owned enterprises have been transferred into cash subsidies.
In the previous month, Guangzhou's Tianhe District government is reported to have saved more than 30 per cent of the district's communication expenses even after it paid large amount of subsidies to its officials.
Xie predicted the province would be able to save at least 30 per cent of its transport expense in the wake of reform of official-use vehicles, which is now taking place nationwide.
Officials' transport expenses in some government departments and units in Guangdong grew after official cars started to be used for private purposes in recent years, Xie said.
Apart from Guangzhou and Foshan, many other cities, including Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Zhongshan, Dongguan and Huizhou in the Pearl River Delta region, have also mapped out plans to introduce a new car expenses system, he said.
Xie said the provincial government would subsidize the officials who will no longer be allowed to use official cars.
In Guangzhou's Tianhe District, county-level officials received a monthly 2,800 yuan (US$340) subsidy, while deputy-county-level officials were given 2,000 yuan (US$240) after the district auctioned all its official cars.