The House of Representatives has confirmed that the National Assembly is in the process of procuring and distributing utility Prado jeeps, worth N130 million to lawmakers as the Nigerian naira suffers its worst fate in history.
The option for the imported Prado Jeeps which will benefit the economies of other countries is despite the availability of local vehicle assemblies in Nigeria and at a time that the naira recorded its worst fate in the currency market at N1,050 to the dollar.
The option for the cars valued at N160m each was on Monday morning triggering sharp reactions on social media.
Rep. Rotimi Akin, the Spokesperson of the House of Reps defended the purchase in a statement in Abuja on Sunday night, coming at a time when Nigerians are grappling with economic hardship.
Akin said the initiative aligned with existing procurement laws, adding that it was a customary practice in previous assemblies.
He said the distribution concerned vehicles tied to lawmakers’ oversight functions in the discharge of their duties within the standing committees, and they are not personal gifts.
“For the duration of the 10th assembly, spanning from 2023 to 2027, these vehicles will remain the property of the National Assembly.
” However, should the government’s extant assets deboarding policy still be in place at the end of the assembly’s tenure in 2027, lawmakers may have the option to purchase the vehicles before they become their property. ”
He emphasised the importance of the vehicles in enhancing the performance of lawmakers’ duties, especially when it comes to oversight functions in various regions of the country.
Akin said the aimed was to ensure that government interventions, programmes, and policies were effectively carried out, no matter where Nigerian citizens reside.
He highlighted the percentage of the legislature’s budget as part of the national budget which had steadily decreased over the past decade, currently standing at 0.5 per cent of the federal budget.
He urged stakeholders to focus on reducing costs in the right areas while supporting lawmakers in their efforts to fulfill their duties effectively and with integrity.
He said the vehicles were work tools and not status symbols, intended to facilitate improved representation, constituency outreach, and oversight functions by elected representatives.(NAN
However, GWG.ng reports that the defence of the imported Prado Jeeps for the members of the House of Representatives at a time the Nigerian economy is tottering is bound to elicit sharp criticisms.
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