The anticipated meeting between President Muhammadu Buhari, Senators and members of the House of Representatives over the lawmakers’ bid to procure 469 exotic cars is not likely to be held before the scheduled resumption of the National Assembly on January 12.
The Senate plans to spend at least N4.7billion on Toyota Land Cruisers for its 109 members as “utility vehicles.”
Members of the House of Representatives have yet to decide on whether to go for Peugeot 508 Salon cars or the 2015 Toyota Camry.
However, the lower chamber is expected to spend between N3.4bn and N4.2bn on choice brands for its 360 members.
The budget’s crude oil benchmark is $38.
President Buhari had, at his December 30, 2015 media chat, while responding to a specific question on reducing the cost of governance, announced that he would hold a meeting with the lawmakers to discuss the issue.
Buhari spoke while the National Assembly was already on break for the Christmas and New Year festivities.
He said, “I can’t see the National Assembly spending more than N47bn (N4.7bn estimate for Senate cars) to buy cars, on top of transport allowance they collect.
“I have to revisit that story. The budget for their transport allowance comes up to N100bn.
“With the kind of money that goes into the National Assembly, we have to look at it conscientiously and see how we can live within our means.”
As of Saturday (yesterday), Our reporter learnt that no meeting had been convened between the two sides on the matter.
When contacted, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Sen. Ita Enang, told one of our correspondents that so long as the National Assembly was still on recess, his office would not give a position on when the meeting would be held.
“On that issue, what I will simply say is that there is no comment until the National Assembly resumes.
“The National Assembly is still on break and they will be away till January 12. That is how it is. Until they resume then it will be appropriate not to speak on this issue”, he stated.
But, when one of our correspondents placed another call to him, Enang explained that both chambers would first meet and agree on the appropriate time to meet with Buhari after their resumption.
“Since the lawmakers are still on recess and would be resuming this week, no meeting can be arranged between them and President Muhammadu Buhari at the moment.
“A proper arrangement and time would be worked out for members of the two arms of government to meet. The time of the meeting will have to be agreed upon by both parties,” he said.