The Senate could save about N1.47bn on the amount it intends to splash on imported Sport Utility Vehicles being purchased for its 108 members should it decide to buy Nigeria-assembled SUVs.
The Chairman, Nigerian Automotive Manufacturers Association, Mr. Tokunbo Aromolaran, stated this on Thursday at a press conference in Lagos, where he along with other members decried the lack of patronage of its products by the government and its agencies.
He said the local vehicles assemblers could provide luxury automobiles in the same category in terms of features and standard with those currently being purchased by the senators.
According to him, the locally assembled SUVs will be offered at a price about 50 per cent cheaper than those favoured by the senators.
The Senate plans to spend about N3.9bn to buy 108 high-end SUVs for the senators, at a unit cost of N36.5m.
Already, the Senate has received 36 units of the vehicle as the first batch. The House of Representatives is said to be planning to buy some super luxury vehicles too.
The National Assembly has come under severe criticisms by members of the public for spending so much money on vehicles, which the critics claim does not reflect the mood of the nation’s economy.
For instance, the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, had in February acquired some official cars, whose total cost was put at N330m. He and his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu, reportedly received a 2016 model Mercedes Benz S550 and four 2016 Toyota Prado jeeps, four 2016 Toyota Hilux SS (Auto) and a 2016 model Toyota Hiace bus each for their convoys.
The cars were purchased despite reservations expressed by President Muhammadu Buhari, and other prominent Nigerians.
But Aromolaran said NAMA, which envisaged that the National Assembly members would need new vehicles as personal cars and official assignments, had made presentations to them with samples of different automobiles befitting their status.
He said, “We showed them the price ranges and how it will make economic sense to patronise local manufacturers in terms of job opportunities for Nigerians.
“They would have saved between 40 and 50 per cent of the amount they are going to spend if they had bought from us.”
Aromolaran said that the SUVs being produced by the local assemblers are of the same quality internationally, adding most automakers all over the world were merely assembling vehicles with parts sourced from the same market.