Senator Sunday Karimi (APC-Kogi) says there is nothing wrong with the purchase of 360 Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) for senators of the 20th National Assembly.
Karimi, also the Chairman, Committee on Senate Services, said this when he spoke with newsmen on Tuesday in Abuja.
“Somebody that is a minister has more than three land cruisers, prado and other vehicles and you are not asking them questions, why us?
“These vehicles that you see, go to Nigeria road. Today, if I go home once, my senatorial district, I come back spending a lot on my vehicles because our roads are bad. Am I talking to somebody? I said the decision that we took on using land cruiser is the cost and durability.
“Before they came up with this. It is not the decisions of the senators alone, we did an analysis before arriving at land cruisers,” he said.
He added, “It was based on comparative analysis of cost of technical issues and durability on Nigeria roads, are you getting me?
“We want something that we can maintain for another four years and the issue of buying vehicles for national assembly, you know it is a reoccurring issue, it occurs every assembly, it will always come up.
“If you got to state houses of assembly today, check out, most of them before they were even inaugurated, the governor would have bought vehicles waiting for them even local government chairmen.
“I drove the vehicle my local government chairman uses, so why National Assembly.”
Karimi said that part of the money paid to the contractor was for settlement of about ₦16 billion liabilities.
“The cost, let me tell you, listen to me, you know I am the chairman, senate service. When I came into the senate, when they gave me their liabilities, they had liabilities of over ₦16 billion that was made up of different vehicles of 7th assembly 8th and 9th assembly.
“If you are a business man and you supply vehicles for somebody in 2014 or 2015 or so and up till now they owed you.
“I am not trying to defend anybody, if you see them selling land cruiser in the market let say it is A cost, you don’t expect somebody that will supply it to supply it at the price they are selling it in the market.
“It has to leave a margin, and the civil service for supply they allowed for 25% margin plus that and VAT and I think that VAT is 7.5%. Out of that 25% margin they will still remove 5% tax from it.
“You are telling someone to supply and he may even not end up making payment for three years and you want him to supply at the price they are selling in the market, it is not possible,” Karimi said.