Namibia’s president on Thursday slapped a five-year ban on buying new cars for top politicians and government officials in order to channel funds into fighting coronavirus, his office said.

President Hage Geingob “has directed that the vehicle fleet of the Namibian government will not be renewed for the period 2020-2025,” presidential spokesperson Alfredo Hengari announced in a statement.

“No new vehicles will be purchased for members of the executive and public office bearers in the Namibian government.”

He said the decision would save some 200 million Namibian dollars (US$10.7 million), which will be directed “to urgent priorities, specifically at a time when the country is dealing with the health and economic implications of COVID-19”.

The southern African country of 2.5 million people has so far recorded 16 cases of COVID-19, with no deaths.

Namibian ministers and their deputies each qualify for Mercedes-Benz vehicles upon their appointment.

The president also directed a limit on monthly fuel consumption for top politicians, the government said.

In 2002, then-president Sam Nujoma had banned the use of Mercedes-Benzes, insisting that ministers should ride in Toyota Camry cars.

AFP