Members of the House of Representatives, have begun to receive the delivery of 360 cars which was allocated to them in the 2016 budget at a unit price of N10 million.
Some of the cars already received include 28 units of the Peugeot 508 series which is among the first 50 cars supplied by the Karina based Peugeot Automobile Nigeria Limited.
Investigations revealed that the cars will be delivered in batches until completed. The luxurious cars will arrive Abuja in batches also until January 2016, when all the members would have picked a unit.
The decision to buy the cars, which was heavily criticized by Nigerians because of the current economic crisis, was still implemented because the lawmakers insisted it was a necessity in the productivity of their jobs.
The high budget came as a result of the 223 new members who joined the National Assembly for the first time in 2015.
Investigations showed that owing to paucity of funds, the lawmakers agreed with Peugeot to spread the payment of the N3.6bn across 24 months or two years’ budget.
“The House was not sure of the provisions in the budget owing to the general drop in the revenue available to the Federal Government this year.
“So, they delayed it till the budget was passed before they continued with the procurement processing,” a source said.
Further investigations revealed that there was a major disagreement in the choice of cars as majority of the new members wanted the 2016 Toyota Camry, while others argued in favor of Peugeot cars in order to patronize local products and to encourage production in the nation.
“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, Mr. Abdulrazak Namdas, was said to have confirmed the delivery of the cars.
He also stated that the vehicles were meant for National assignments and not luxury as speculated by many Nigerians who thought the budget was too much and also a waste considering the economic challenges of the country.
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.
It was 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 members.
Besides the utility vehicles, members also get a repayable loan to buy personal cars.