The 360 members of the Federal House of Representatives will be getting new Toyota Camry cars for their oversight functions. The value of the vehicles has been put at N 2.5 billion. Street Journal found out that the official unit price of the grade of the car preferred by the legislators is N7million, going by the official rate adopted to buy the same brand for Senators in the last National Assembly.
Street Journal also found out that contrary to what obtained in the past, this car deal is likely to be brokered by the civil service arm of the National Assembly; this is sequel to an effort by the House leadership to create the image of a transparent lot. A source within the legislature also revealed that it had to be done that way to prevent the leadership of the House from being dragged into any scandal that might eventually arise from the purchase. Issues are known to arise normally over the inflation of the cost of the vehicles as well as what becomes of the discounts that are granted on each unit of the vehicles.
The members expressed their preference for Toyota Camry models over Peugeot 407 ST, the model used by members of the House in the last dispensation.
While sources in the House are of the opinion that the approach being used this time will keep the legislators scandal free, some of the watchers of events in the National Assembly are wondering what difference it would make. As one of them put it, “it is not as if the civil servants won’t go back to report to the House so it comes back to the same thing at the end of the day”,
Street Journal gathered that the funds for the cars will be drawn from the N30billion for capital projects. Though it is being said that the vehicles will not personally belong to the members, many Nigerians wonder if it is absolutely necessary that cars should be purchased for such purposes, especially when the same House also has a provision for personal cars for members. Street Journal also found out that loans of N 7 million are available to individual members for the purchase of official cars.
While the salaries of Nigerian legislators have been subjects of debates over time, the same thing cannot be said of their counterparts in Uganda. It was announced last month that elected members of the Ugandan parliament will not get free official cars this time. Since they all have cars, it is expected that they will use their personal cars.