Some people are prone to being impulsive buyers. Often, they don’t even need the things they buy, but they still can’t resist the temptation. And if this is already a problem when it comes to ordinary people, imagine when we are talking about one of the poorest countries in the world.
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Papua New Guinea hosted the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) event in 2018. As “good hosts,” the local government spent nearly $6.5 million to buy 40 Maserati Quattroportes and three Bentleys. Flying Spur, to transport world leaders who would arrive in the country.
The cars were bought from a dealer in Sri Lanka, as they are not sold in Papua New Guinea, and arrived in the country on a chartered Boeing 747 aircraft. The purchase sparked public outrage and some world leaders who attended the meeting, such as The Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern, refused to use the vehicles.
APEC Minister Justin Tkatchenko, on the other hand, was in favor of the purchase. In an attempt to calm the population, he said, two days after the event, that the cars would “sell like hotcakes”.
Here we are in 2021 and out of 43 cars purchased, only three, two Maserati and one Bentley, were sold. The recipe for failure was predictable, after all, the country has limited automotive infrastructure. Paved roads are located in the capital city of Port Moresby. In fact, they were the first Maserati and Bentley to get there in all of history.
Paul Barker, the executive director of the Papua New Guinea Institute of National Affairs, was one of the main critics of the purchase of the vehicles, saying that the government will not find a market to sell them later, as they are not suitable for local road conditions. and there were no workshops in the country capable of servicing those vehicles.
“The purchase shows a serious lack of foresight and a desperate willingness to waste public money, in a developing country where basic public goods, from roads to health services, are largely unavailable or substandard,” Barker said. in an interview with The Guardian.
The country’s current finance minister, John Pundari, said Maserati are being sold for 400,000 (local currency), equal to 113,000 dollars, more than the current market value. The 2018 Quattroporte V8 is priced around $60,000 in the global market. And given the state of the country, the cars will not have customers there, so they will have to be ordered by buyers, increasing their final price.
In addition to the 43 luxury cars, the government of Papua New Guinea also ordered 300 other cars for the use of the APEC meeting, from Toyota, Mazda, Ford and Mitsubishi, of which 284 were not returned, with the suspicion that at least 9. have been stolen.
State spokesman Chris Hawkins said in 2019 that many of the vehicles that had not yet been returned were in state parking lots or being used by paramedics, firefighters and other public officials.
Dennis Corcoran, who heads the state’s asset recovery unit, said local police were aware of the theft of the nine vehicles and that some were missing parts or were being returned “severely damaged.”