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Reps order 400 foreign cars, reject Nigerian brands

Valentine Chinyem

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The House of Representatives has resolved to acquire Toyota Camry 2020 model for members as official cars, otherwise called utility vehicles.

The resolution was reached at an executive (closed-door) session held on February 5, 2020, The PUNCH reliably learnt on Friday.

A source in the chamber, who spoke on condition of anonymity as members were forbidden from disclosing details of the discussions at the closed-door meeting, said the National Assembly would purchase 400 exotic cars. The lawmaker, however, kept mum on the cost of each car.

When contacted on Sunday, a representative of Elizade Nigeria Limited, a foremost Toyota brand distributor, said the 2020 model had yet to arrive in the country.

The representative, however, said the 2019 model was N26.75m and N35.75m (for V6 engine).

The 2020 model is expected to be costlier.

A check on the website of Toyota showed that the price of the car, depending on the variants, is between $25,000 (N9,000,000 at N360 to a dollar) and $35,000 (N12,600,000), excluding the cost of shipping, import duty which is 70 per cent of the net cost and other clearing charges and taxes at the port.

For instance, those with higher specifications, as the National Assembly usually goes for higher range of vehicles, are XLE at $29,455; XLE V6 at $34,580; XSE at $30,005 and XSE V6 at $35,130.

At the meeting, the lawmakers were said to have rejected Nigerian brands, insisting on foreign ones, preferably imported and not locally assembled.

The lawmaker said a proposal to patronise Innoson Vehicles Manufacturing, a Nigerian brand based in Nnewi, Anambra State, was rejected.

The lawmaker said, “It is Toyota Camry 2020. Manga will supply 300 of the vehicles. The person who supplied the Senate will supply the remaining 100. Someone suggested Innoson. I feel he was being sarcastic. He is from Anambra.”

Already, about 14 Toyota Land Cruiser Prado Jeeps were said to have already been shared to the presiding and principal officers as well as chairmen of select House committees.

Giving the breakdown of how the vehicles would be shared, the source said the 400 saloon cars would be allocated to each of the 360 members and some top management staff, Chiefs of Staff to the two presiding officers as well as some of their special advisers and assistants.

Another member of the House, who also declined to be named, said some of the vehicles had been supplied while new members who did not get committee appointments would be the beneficiaries of the first batch.

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