On: why the rule that “government employees are not allowed to use public vehicles assigned to them” is a bad rule!
On: why the rule that “government employees are not allowed to use public vehicles assigned to them as a part of their position” is a bad rule!
We need to first understand that Nepal is transportation starved! What this means is that not everyone that needs or could achieve more with adequate transportation has access to transportation. Bikes are marked up 250%—with the government taking most of your bike before it even gets to you. This means the price does not reflect demand. Not everyone that wants and or needs a bike or car is not able to afford one.
Given this reality, let’s analyze the current situation. We know public employers are corrupt and as a society we have a rule in place that checks their powers in hopes of preventing them from abusing their powers and privileges. One check is this vehicle use rule. We are limiting their powers to limit abuse of power. We believe, in a transportation starved nation, that these people should not abuse their vehicles.
This policy has good intentions but awful consequences. Anyone reading this, I want you to brainstorm answers to this question. What abuse could be so great that government employees must be stopped from using vehicles they have access to at their full convenience? Do we believe that a politician going on holiday in their government car—given the petrol is paid for out of their pocket—is such a detriment to the country?
That must be the case if we are to continue enforcing this rule. There are many consequences of this rule. Namely, this locks up vehicles from being traded and used in the open market. These politicians will likely own their own private vehicles which they purchased prior to getting to office. So when they are given a government vehicle that they can only use on some days, they are forced to keep their private vehicle.
These people are in power for a long time—with the term limits for many elected positions being for five years. The current vehicle use policy binds them to owning two vehicles. Any vehicle that has already passed customs and inside the country is worth a lot more than if it exists outside the country in international markets. That’s why Nepal has a lot of very old vehicles still on the road. It would be very costly to replace these vehicles despite them not functioning optimally. When we force a politician to keep their own cars on top of a government owned vehicle, we prevent a bike or a car from going to someone who needs it.
If this policy were not in existence, someone like Balen would perhaps opt to sell their privately owned vehicle for they won’t need it for five years. This is likely to happen because unless anyone has to, they would not like to pay maintenance for a car or bike that is not of use to them. If Balen was freely allowed to use the Mayor’s car for any use, he would sell his own car! This car could and would be sold and used by a family who desperately needs one! It would free up vehicles from every government employee. These people can easily buy another one five years down the line!
So, I ask fellow Nepalis, are the downsides of politicians using their public vehicles for private purposes so great that we continue this transportation famine we have been facing since day one? Do we not owe the nation to make rational decisions and abolish this rule so that it’s not just politicians hoarding vehicles? We are hungry for vehicles and we ourselves are preventing vehicles from going towards hungry folks!