New rule allows Vietnam's top leaders to have any car they want after retirement

By Ha Nguyen, Thanh Nien News

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Official cars at a festival in Bac Ninh Province in 2014. Photo: An Xuan Official cars at a festival in Bac Ninh Province in 2014. Photo: An Xuan


Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has issued a decision that allows some top leaders to keep official vehicles even after they have retired. 
Currently, the country's General Secretary of the Communist Party, the President, the National Assembly Chairman and the Prime Minister can purchase any car, without a price limit. 
The new decision, which will take effect next month, will make these key leaders eligible to keep using official state cars even after they leave office. 
The rules are still strict for vehicles purchased by central and provincial agencies. 
Top officials at central government agencies, and municipal agencies in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, are only allowed to choose cars valued at VND1.1 billion (US$50,400) or less. 
Senior officials at provincial and district agencies may purchase cars at up to VND920 million and VND720 million respectively.
These agencies, however, can only buy new cars when their existing vehicles reach a certain mileage -- 250,000 kilometers (155,000 miles) in urban area and 200,000 kilometers for mountainous and remote areas.
Newly-appointed officials will have to use cars passed down from their predecessors.
Local media estimated that the country has between 34,500-40,000 official state cars, which are distinguished by their blue license plates.
These cars have been valued at around VND20 trillion ($917.3 million) in total, or more than 2 percent of state assets.

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