DUE to certain individuals’ gross abuse and misuse of Government-owned vehicles (G-Vehicle), tax payers of this country are witnessing yet again another pointless waste of public funds as two G-plated vehicles were involved in accidents over the weekend.
These careless actions over the weekend show a total disregard of the entrusted power given to them to garage these vehicles and clearly shows the need for government vehicles to have a vehicle tracking system. It is time to put a stop to such unnecessary costs and burden on taxpayers.
It is concerning that reports and comments shared in the print media and on social media indicate that these government vehicles were used outside office hours, seen outside night clubs and being out and about till the early hours. Public coffers are stretched and these actions are causing unnecessary depletion and wastage of public funds. Rules and regulations with regards to the use of government vehicles are blatantly ignored.
There needs to be stronger measures in place to ensure such unnecessary cost to public funds is avoided, starting with the introduction of a vehicle tracking system for government vehicles. This should be in line with the Public Service (Government Properties) (Vehicles and Plants) Rules as established under the Public Service Act. Enough of such carelessness when it comes to government properties and assets, at the end of the day the tax payers are paying for such unnecessary expenses – be it the maintenance of these vehicles or purchase of new vehicles. The Public Service (Government Properties) (Vehicles and Plants) Rules clearly outline rules with regards to the use of government vehicles but obviously this has been, for too long just another rule to be ignored.
Transparency Solomon Islands calls on the government that it is long overdue to install vehicle tracking system in all G-vehicles to ensure it is monitored to be used for the right purpose. Through the tracking system it would be easier to track the abuse of government vehicles, persons responsible can be identified and disciplined immediately. According to concerns raised by the public on social media and even in print media, government vehicles are seen parking outside night clubs, at the beaches and in some cases the G-vehicle use to carry heavy loads of timbers. These are questionable use of government properties. Whilst all individuals are free to participate in any of these social activities, it is the use and abuse of the government properties that must be condemned and must be stopped. Measures must now be put in place to curb this huge and unnecessary expense. Similar privately owned vehicles are well kept and used for years however government vehicles seem to be replaced every now and then. This can be prevented. TSI see this practice as a total abuse of government properties and someone ignoring the Public Service (Government Properties) (Vehicles and Plants) Rules should be dealt with accordingly either through suspension or termination. The incidents over the weekend alleged the use of alcohol and using the vehicles for personal use and is a gross negligence of responsibilities.
Irrespective of who was involved in these accidents, they must be dealt with accordingly for the abuse of government property and breach of traffic laws. It is time to put a stop to this abuse of government properties. Taxpayers must be given justice for footing such avoidable government expenses to repair and purchase new vehicles because some corrupt officers are good at abusing G-vehicles for their personal benefit.
Vehicle tracking system is a must for the government if it is serious about eradicating corruption and discourage poor attitude by officers towards state-properties. The costs of vehicle repair and purchase of new G-vehicles will continue to increase and drain out public funds – who is paying for these – tax payers. The government will continuously place a huge burden on taxpayers if no serious step is taken to improve the management and monitoring of G-vehicles. Minister for Infrastructure Development revealed in parliament on Monday that more than $8 million is allocated in the newly passed budget for the purchase of new G-vehicle. Had there been stronger measures in place to control and monitor the use of these G-vehicles, cost would have reduced and money would have been spent on other pressing issues as the deteriorating hospitals and clinics in the provinces and poor education service for our children throughout the country. TSI calls on responsible authorities to do something about this and to ensure that taxpayers of this country don’t have to pay for yet another unnecessary and exorbitant cost of vehicle repair or new vehicle to replace damaged ones. //end