VIENTIANE, Feb. 28 (Xinhua) — Some 14 limousines were auctioned here on Tuesday as part of the commitment Lao leaders have made to stop driving luxury cars and save government money.
Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith’s car was sold for 1,330 million kip (some 164,000 U.S. dollars), the highest bid made in the first ever auction of leaders’ cars, followed by Vice President Phankham Viphavanh’s car with 1,300 million kip (some 160,000 U.S. dollars) and National Assembly President Pany Yathortou’s, 970 million kip (some 120,000 U.S. dollars).
The limousines on auction included seven BMW Series 7/730li models and seven Mercedes Benz S350 models. They together fetched 11.6 billion kip (some 1.432 million U.S. dollars).
The auction came after the party and government leaders agreed not to use luxury cars in a bid to cut lavish spending on vehicles and related costs.
The cars will be replaced by more reasonably priced brands of vehicles, said the Lao News Agency.
Further reporting by China Report ASEAN:
The Laos economy has been growing is growing fast, at 8.5% GDP year-on-year change, according to the World Bank.
However, according to the Asian Development Bank, the landlocked nation counts 23.2% of the population as living below the national poverty line, the third highest rate in ASEAN, after the Philippines (25.2%) and Myanmar (25.6%). The infant mortality rate is the worst in the region.