How state house spent N3.7bn on vehicles, tyres in 10 Days

Tinubu.
Tinubu.

How state house spent N3.7bn on vehicles, tyres in 10 Days

The State House, under the dispensation of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has spent over N3.7 billion on the purchase and supply of vehicles and tyres, findings by Daily Trust on Saturday revealed.

Investigation and data gathered from govspend, a portal documenting government expenditures, showed that the Presidential Villa made four separate payments on May 21 and 31, the week that marked Tinubu’s first year in office, to Laralek Ultimate Limited, and another payment to an unspecified beneficiary, all totaling N3,461,909,471.

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The total allocation for the State House is N40.62 billion, with only N28.12 billion of the entire amount for capital expenditure, according to data released by BudgIT, a civil society organisation whose goal is promoting transparency and fostering citizens’ engagement for institutional reforms and equitable society.

Over the years, Nigeria has leveraged its borrowing prowess, with its external debt currently sitting at N127.67 trillion as of Q1 of 2024.

However, critics have accused the Tinubu administration of “frivolous spending” despite numerous pleas to Nigeria’s citizens over the current hardship and harsh policies largely affecting the masses.

It could be recalled that there was a backlash the last time the president asked Nigerians to make sacrifices for the nation’s progress.

Recently, Tinubu, while addressing journalists after observing the Eid-el Kabir prayer at Dodan Barracks, Lagos, stressed the need for the people to follow the path of sacrifice in order to make the nation great.

The comment elicited numerous reactions from Nigerians, civil society organisations and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Incidentally, 24 hours after some of the payments for the cars and tyres were made, the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, apologised to Nigerians over the nationwide hardship.

Speaking during a ministerial sectoral update, he said the policies of the Tinubu-led government were on track despite the currency crisis and inflation, which have frustrated economic growth.

“So what’s the answer to all of these? It’s to restore macroeconomic stability that will ensure that investors, both domestic and international put their faces in our economy once again. And we are all doing this without a blame game. And I apologise for the pain that they may occasion, but they are necessary… Is our strategy right? Absolutely. We believe our strategy is right, but it requires occasional calibration. Put good money to use,” he said.

Now, Nigeria’s inflation is above 33 per cent, worsening the cost of living – a stance largely attributed to some of the president’s policies.

The data from govspend showed that payments of the sums of N1,904,388,461, N1,200,000,000, N200,000,000 and N63,818,416 were all made to Laralek Ultimate Limited for the purchase of operational SUVs and pool vehicles for the State House, while N93,702,594.08 was paid for the supply of vehicles to the National Centre for the Coordination of Early Warning and Response Mechanism.

The full details of the car brands and models were not written in the narration made for the payments on the portal.

N244m spent on tyres in one day

The sum of N244,654,350 was specifically used for the purchase and supply of car tyres in just one day out of the total N3,706,563,821 spent by the State House, the data further revealed.

The same data from the govspend portal showed that on May 21, 2024, the State House made payments for the supply of an unspecified quantity of a particular brand of bulletproof tyres, another five quantities of a different brand of bulletproof tyres, and a Westlake tyre for the sums of N200,583,390, N38,070,000 and N6,000,960, respectively.

A breakdown of the findings revealed that two separate payments were made for the purchase and supply of tyres (no specific quantity) for bulletproof vehicles and another five armoured bulletproof tyres to Obi-Wealth Enterprises Nigeria Limited (RC-640684) for the sums of N200,583,390 and N38,070,000.

However, a quick search on the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) website revealed that the company is inactive.

Hommy & Fay Investments Limited, active on the CAC portal, handled the other part of the supply of an unspecified number of Westlake tyres (315/80R22) for N6,000,960.

State House may exceed its budget

The Country Director of ActionAid Nigeria, a civil society organisation, Andrew Mamedu, while reacting to the purchases, warned that if the trend continued, the State House would exceed its budget, which will, in turn, affect its overall expenditure.

Mamedu added that the Tinubu-led administration needed to be more transparent, especially when providing a breakdown of specific expenditures.

He maintained that the sacrifices demanded by the federal government from citizens for the progress of the nation should be across the board, considering the current economic challenges.

“We are not against the buying of cars, but is purchasing them necessary?

“From the total vehicles they are buying, how many made-in-Nigeria vehicles are we patronising? About 80 per cent of this money leaves the country because all these vehicles are imported,” he stated.

However, attempts to get reactions from the presidency over the cars and tyre expenditures did not yield results, as several calls to the Special Adviser to the President on Information and Strategy, Bayo Onanuga, did not go through.

Also, messages sent to him via SMS and WhatsApp had not been replied to as at the time of filing this report.

 

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