10 December 2013 13:01

A bill to restrict the right of state officials access to free limousines will be voted through as soon as the final details have been settled on, the deputy Chairman of the House Finance Committee said yesterday.
Speaking to the media after a committee meeting, Angelos Votsis confirmed that efforts are underway to wrap up the matter as soon as possible, despite the delays.
“We are very close to finding the happy medium between the six proposals submitted to the committee by our MPs.”
He added that the one unanimous agreement is that limousines for state officials, with the exception of the President, must not exceed 20 horsepower or an emissions rating of 165 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometre
Public outrage erupted in June after news that the committee was examining a request to release nearly €50,000 for a limousine for former president Demetris Christofias, who many see as the instigator of the financial crisis in Cyprus.
While Christofias returned his official limousine to the government following the public backlash the transport costs of state officials has remained a hot topic ever since.
Meanwhile, the delays in voting on the bill were yesterday described as “unacceptable” by Green party spokesman George Perdikis.
“It appears the system in this country has been greatly inconvenienced by the house’s attempt to put an end to this extravagant privilege.”
According to Edek MP Nicos Nicolaides the delays so far have mainly been due to the failure of political parties to come to agreement on the terms that will allow officials to enjoy complimentary transport.
“There is a clash of opinions on three points - whether the car should come with a driver, without a driver and whether it should only be used for official duties.”
The matter will be discussed by the committee again tomorrow with a view of voting on the proposal by Thursday.
At present state officials, high-ranking military and police officials as well as members of semi-governmental organisations are entitled to a freebie limo and a driver in many cases.
According to data released by the Ministry of Finance, in 2011 the state spent €226,320 on running its limos while in 2013 it has so far forked over €300,000.


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