- Government of Nepal Preparing to host 18th SAARC Summit in Secong week of November.
- Govt set to spend Rs 350m on seven armored bullet proof luxury cars for SSAARC leaders.
- Each Unit cost Rs 50m; with taxes, the price will be as high as Rs 100m.
- Sources say Finance Ministry favours Mercedes-Benz while Foreign Ministry’s pick is BMW.
18 June 2014 KATHMANDU, NEPAL – Government of Nepal is preparing to host the 18th Episode of SAARC Summit in November Second week, where as its foreign Ministry is Planning to Purchase new VVIP bulletproof Luxury Cars to transport head of the states and their spouses during the event.
Nepal one of the economically poorest country among the other 7 states of the SAARC and purchasing some vehicle become the national agenda, we never heard the same shameful story during other SAARC Summit held in various countries during this 18 years, each country has their own agenda and some of our ministry even seeking donation for vehicle? what a shameful story to read. Being a National, this could be the worst story that i have ever read as our government is capable of buying such vehicle and there are ways that can implement.
While reading different news papers, online sources and talked with people who are involved in government services, two different Ministry who are responsible to the hosting and spending the event are divided for the brand of cars to purchase?? Why does it happen? There is a black whole which ask them to talk that directly during the meeting, why should not we ask for the quotation bid from various companies who does produce such required vehicle and purchase the lowest priced one? There are many car manufacturer who does supply the VVIP luxury cars and they may be ready to supply as per our requirement.
According to the news sources, Luxury car manufacturing Companies are intensify lobbying in power corridors with Cabinet decision to call global tenders for procuring luxury cars.
Two German premium car makers BMW and Mercedes-Benz are competing in Nepal as the government plans to procure seven high-end bullet proof cars for VVIPs for the upcoming SAARC Summit.
The companies have intensified lobbying in Singha Durbar corridors with Cabinet on Monday endorsing the Foreign Ministry’s proposal to call global tenders for procuring the luxury cars.
The government will use these cars for plying seven foreign heads of state/government who will attend the SAARC Summit in Kathmandu possibly in November.
According to the ministry, each car will cost Rs 50 million after waiving all duties and customs. With all applicable taxes, each car would cost up to Rs 100 million.
Sources at the Finance Ministry and Foreign Ministry said the car makers are vying for a foothold in Nepali market through this SAARC deal. So far, BMW does not have an official dealer in Nepal while Mercedes, despite having a local dealer, has limited buyers.
Interestingly, both the ministries are divided over the choice of the brand. Sources say Finance Ministry favours Mercedes-Benz while the Foreign Ministry’s pick is BMW . A team from the BMW headquarters has approached government officials, offering a special price if the Nepali side decides to procure its products, said a knowledgeable source.
In a tender proposal tabled at the Cabinet, the Foreign Ministry suggested procuring BMW for security reasons, a brand widely used by many heads of state that is an epitome of luxury known for premium facilities and a prestige symbol.
While, Finance Ministry wants to procure Mercedes, arguing that the cars offer an easy ride, that several models of Benz cars ply the Kathmandu streets and that old kits are available to be fitted in case of any damage or technical glitches.
Chief Secretary Leela Mani Poudyal has intervened arguing that specifying a brand in the tender document would be against the Public Procurement Act. “It is illegal and unethical to mention a particular brand in tender document as it means we favor one particular company. Let’s go for ones that offer a lower price,” Poudyal had suggested in the meeting.
As a result, the Cabinet was ready to call global tender to procure from the lowest bidder. But only BMW and Mercedes-Benz provide high-end, premium bullet proof cars.
Officials were reluctant to procure cars in a direct deal fearing reprisals from the Commission for Investigation for Abuse of Authority given the huge sum of money that is involved in the process. The Foreign Ministry even mulled over seeking logistical donations from India and China.
Chief Secretary Poudyal reportedly turned down the Foreign Ministry proposal saying that it would be a matter of shame for the county to ask for cars to host such an important event.
Sources say there is strong push from the German brands to put other medium-rung cars and buses on the Nepali market using the SAARC Summit platform.
The government needs another 30 medium-rung cars for the spouses of the visiting dignitaries of the member states, and foreign ministers and leaders from nine observer nations.
Officials said they will be calling global bids for high-end cars shortly, followed by the other 30 vehicles. Officiating Foreign Secretary Shanker Das Bairagi was unavailable for comments.
This is not the first time that government of Nepal and its ministry has shown such shameful behavior, it was happened in the past as well where as political leaders and its party members got tax free luxury cars to purchase where government has loose some hundred millions or Rupee.