Despite recession, Reps get exotic car each


While Nigerians groan under the pangs of the economic recession, the House of Representatives last Sunday took delivery of 28 units of Peugeot 508 series, in the delivery of 360 exotic cars to the lawmakers amid the economic downturn in the country.
The 28 cars were among the first batch of 50, supplied by Kaduna-based Peugeot Automobile Nigeria Limited. The House had allocated a princely sum of N3.6 billion, at a price of N10 million per unit for the cars, in the 2016 budget.
With an arrangement with PAN for the supply of the vehicles in batches, due to huge number of House members involved, The Point’s findings indicated that the luxury cars would arrive in Abuja in batches till January, 2017, when all 360 members of the lower chamber of the National Assembly would have picked a unit each, of what is officially known as ‘utility’ or ‘committee’ vehicles.
Investigations showed that owing to paucity of funds, the lawmakers agreed with PAN to spread the payment of the N3.6 billion across 24 months or in “two years’ budget.”
The Point gathered that while majority of new members of the House preferred the 2016 Toyota Camry, others argued in favour of Peugeot 508, on the grounds of patronising ‘Made-in-Nigeria’ products.
“Eventually, the argument was sustained that Peugeot should be the choice to encourage local automotive industry; though it would also appear that there was a comparative cost analysis,” another legislative source added.
The Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Hon. Abdulrazak Namdas, confirmed that members had started taking delivery of the vehicles, adding that female lawmakers were the first in line to pick up their units, while the males would take their turn in subsequent batches.
Asked why the House would splash a humongous N3.6 billion on 360 exotic cars at a time the country was in recession, Namdas played down any reference to the cars as being “luxury.”
He said, “This issue of cars is long overdue. They are not for luxury, but for committee and oversight duties. On paper, the cars are the property of the National Assembly, but the tradition over time is that lawmakers take them along with them on completion of their tenure, after paying a fraction of the unit cost.”
The Point learnt that the management of the National Assembly would evaluate the cars after four years and deduct an agreed sum from the severance package of the lawmakers. Besides the utility vehicles, members also get a repayable loan to buy personal cars.