OrderPaper’s ACEs flay NASS over purchase of SUVs amidst economic crisis  

Op-ed EditorNovember 23, 20233 min

Active Citizens Engaging the Legislature (ACEs) is an initiative of OrderPaper, Nigeria’s foremost independent parliamentary monitoring organization and policy think tank, conceived to achieve the implementation of its Legislative Accountability and Constituency Engagement (Leg’ACE) Programme.

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The Active Citizens Engaging the Legislature (ACEs) community has criticised the National Assembly’s decision to purchase luxury Sports Utility Vehicles, SUVs valued at N57.6 billion for the 360 members of the House of Representatives and 109 Senators, describing it as insensitive.

This is as it urged the lawmakers to use their personal money to buy whatever brand of vehicle they please instead of depleting the country’s treasury.

This forms part of the group’s resolutions at its plenary held on 19 October 2023.

It worried that in a country where citizens are struggling so hard to survive daily, rather than be bothered and empathise, federal lawmakers are more concerned with buying brand new SUVs.

“The National Assembly lacks empathy. The members don’t know how to read the room. You procure 2023 SUVs in a budget cycle where the government is struggling to secure a $3bn loan, The Senate President and Speaker should plead with their members to make sacrifices while such request should be diverted into the economics of the nation,” it stated.

READ ALSO: Bad roads informed our choice of luxury vehicles – Sen. Karimi

The ACEs community also urged the lawmakers to use their earnings or personal money to buy whatever car they please instead of taking it from the country’s treasury.

It further recalled that upon assumption of office, President Bola Tinubu had pledged that his administration would cut down on the over-reliance on borrowing for public expenditure and curtail government’s borrowing so as to reduce the debt service burden on the country.

Additionally, the group queried the practice of purchasing new sets of vehicles every Assembly even as it poked holes in the defence of the House Committee Chairman on Media and Public Affairs, Rep. Akin Rotimi, on the decision to purchase the vehicles.

Rotimi in a statement, said “the vehicles that will be distributed to members are not “personal gifts, adding that for the duration of the 10th assembly (2023– 2027), the vehicles shall remain the property of the National Assembly.

“At the expiration of the tenure of the 10th Assembly in 2027, should the extant assets 879 debarring policy of government still be in place, honorable members may have the option of making payment for the outstanding value of the vehicles to government coffers before they can become theirs, otherwise it remains the property of the National Assembly.”

Op-ed Editor

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