4 reasons Aliyu Abdullahi’s justification for N4.7 billion car purchases is not acceptable
In defense of the Nigerian senate’s recent N4.7 billion car purchases, the Chairman, Senate committee on Media and publicity has this to say-
“The vehicles are not meant for individual Senators. They are purchased for the use of the committees. For those who may want to find out what happened to the ones bought in the past, we cannot expect that after four years, the vehicles will still be in the condition to effectively serve the present committees. The best practice in government institutions and even private organizations is for official vehicles allocated to top officials after four years of use to be sold at the depreciated value.
We have been very frugal, responsive and responsible in our spending. We have also cut down on several expenses. However, there are certain expenses and purchases that are normal in government and any organization generally. The legislature is not an exception. With respect to the official vehicles of the Senate President, it should be noted that majority of the vehicles in his convoy are his personal vehicles while some of the vehicles that he inherited, including his official vehicles and the backup car, are so old that they are already developing faults and not fit for long journey. The implication is that the vehicles in his official convoy are so old that they are already causing embarrassment for the Senate. The media should know that a man of his antecedent will not at this point be excited with purchase of new cars. His official cars are really long overdue for replacement.
The media should avoid deliberately portraying the legislature as irresponsible and inciting the people against it. We seek the understanding of the media to explain issues and situations to the people. Both the media and the legislature have different roles to play in sustaining our democracy and none should be seen to be undermining the other.
Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi
Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Publicity.
While Abdullahi has come up with reasons why the 4-year old cars are unsuitable for the present senators, here are four pressing issues that could have been addressed using the allotted N4.7 billion.
1. Minimum wage
Recently, the Nigerian Governors Forum, (NGF) rose from a meeting to announce that they can no longer afford to pay the N18, 000 national minimum Wage. At this point, it is important to note that Nigeria pays the least wages to its civil servants in comparison to other OPEC members.
The governors stated that their inability to continually meet their obligations to the Nigerian working class is due to the state of the economy.
2. School teachers salaries
Several states governments are still finding it difficult to pay public primary and secondary school teachers their remuneration. In a report by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the payment of salaries have stalled for some months now due to a drop in the Federal allocation to the states.
3. Unemployed youth wages
Part of the propaganda of the present administration is to give unemployed youths a stipend of N5, 000. However, this agenda has not yet been implemented. According to the Minister of Youth and Sports, Barrister Solomon Dalong, the APC government has not created more jobs or started the stipend allocations due to “non-budgetary provisions.”
4. The imminent subsidy removal
On the 15th of December, 2015, the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, announced that fuel subsidy which costs over N1 trillion is no longer sustainable due to shortage of funds. Therefore, according to the news sources, fuel subsidy will be withdrawn next year.
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