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Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s car auction, which was held on Monday on the lawns of Prime Minister House as part of an austerity drive, attracted hundreds of bidders but failed to live up to its billing, the BBC reported.
Auctioneers said the cash-strapped government hoped to net at least $16m to fill the government coffers, but just $600,000 was made from the sale. However, a determined Pakistan government plans to auction a fleet of government-owned luxury vehicles again to raise at least $10 billion in the current fiscal year to bridge the gap between its debt obligations and foreign-exchange.
At the end of December 2017, Pakistan’s external public debt was $70.51 billion, which went up to $75.35 billion at the end of June 2018. According to reports, in FY18, $5.62 billion was spent on foreign debt servicing.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan. (File photo)
Though the bidders evinced interests in four helicopters that have been put up for sale, the government announced they will be auctioned later this month. On being asked for a price of almost $1.3 million on two Mercedes Maybach S-600s, there was a huge roar of laughter among the 500 bidders. In addition, seven BMWs, and all 14 Mercedes Benz S-300s from 1993 went unsold.
There was no word from the government on the auction eight buffaloes kept by Nawaz Sharif at the PM House for his “gastronomic requirements”.
Reports said more than 100 cars were up for auction but only 62 went under the hammer. However, a bullet-proof 2015 Toyota Land Cruiser netted almost $200,000 (fetched the highest price). Similarly, four bullet-proof 2005 Mercedes jeeps also found buyers.
As well as selling off surplus luxury cars, the Pakistan government now wants to turn state-owned buildings into universities, dispense with VIP security protocol and cut air conditioning in government offices.