A total of N21.1 billion has been allocated for the acquisition of vehicles by various government ministries, departments, and agencies over a span of five months, a report obtained from the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPE) has revealed.
The approvals for these disbursements indicate that ten agencies received these funds between April and August 2023.
The beneficiaries include the Independent National Electoral Commission, Federal Road Safety Corps, National Population Commission, Nigerian Police Trust Fund, Independent Corruption Practices Commission, and Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Commission, among others.
Specifically, N4.5 billion was designated for the procurement of an unspecified quantity of operational vehicles for the Nigerian Police Trust Fund, while Messrs Kaura and Wada received N1.91 billion for the purchase of 43 vehicles intended for the Independent Corruption Practices Commission. The Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Commission was granted N1.1 billion.
Furthermore, N8.55 billion was allocated for motor vehicles and tow trucks for the Federal Road Safety Corps, and N1.36 billion for 37 work vehicles for the Transmission Commission of Nigeria.
The National Population Commission and Independent Corruption Practices Commission received N388.3 million and N835.2 million, respectively.
Notably, in 2020, former President Muhammadu Buhari issued an order to Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) to exclusively procure vehicles that were either manufactured or assembled in Nigeria.
This directive was aimed at supporting local automakers and reducing import duties.
Speaking at the 26th Economic Summit, Buhari said, ““We are not giving up on the local auto industry. We still have a relatively high duty at 35 percent, so there is still a disincentive for importation. Secondly, we are promoting a policy that the government must buy only locally manufactured cars.”
Despite this policy, there have been instances of political leaders continuing to patronise imported vehicle brands.
This follows a recent report where the National Assembly had planned to spend N160 million on imported sport utility vehicles (SUVs) for each lawmaker.
This move faced significant public criticism, although the Senate defended the purchase, asserting that the vehicles were essential for the legislators’ operational needs.