There is a new twist in Papua New Guinea’s four-year drama surrounding the Maseratis bought for the 2018 APEC Summit.
It has emerged that the Department of Foreign Affairs, which wants to send the luxury vehicles to foreign missions abroad, cannot do so, because the vehicles — which have been collecting dust in a Port Moresby warehouse — will now be classified as “used vehicles”.
And some countries in which PNG’s foreign missions are based cannot accept them under that category.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Elias Wohengu said that Papua New Guinea was also a non-vehicle producing country which did not have a licence or permit to export vehicles, let alone used ones.
Many developed countries could accept anything classified as “used vehicles” from PNG.
Other countries, such as Solomon Islands and Indonesia, also have other obstacles to overcome, if the cars were going to be sent eventually — Solomon Islands does not have good paved roads for such low-lying luxury vehicles, and Indonesian roads are just too crowded. Fast cars such as the Maseratis will be of no use there.
Early last year a notice was sent for PNG Foreign Affairs Department and its missions abroad to be given the priority to purchase Maseratis and Bentleys for their operations.
Challenges facing missions
There were challenges facing the missions and their heads on the latter.
Yesterday Wohengu spelled out the challenges preventing the cars from being sent across to the PNG Missions.
“As soon as the vehicles leave the sales spot, it is portrayed as a used car already,” he said.
“Some of these host countries do not accept used cars so we have the used car issue.
“Second issue that we have is the cost of shipment . . . But the biggest challenge is that many countries do not accept used cars, especially for diplomatic use and not from PNG,” he said.
“We would have got vehicles for all the missions, but you see, I can’t send a Bentley or a Maserati to Solomon Islands. Similarly I cannot send these vehicles to Jayapura or Fiji.
“But most of all, the used cars are not accepted in many host countries. Also we don’t have a permit for exporting used cars out of PNG. We can buy new vehicles from elsewhere but we can’t export them from PNG.
“Australia will not accept these cars from here, Singapore totally no. These are some examples.”
Republished with permission.