by Victor Oluwasegun and Dele Anofi
The management of the National Assembly is in the process of awarding contracts worth at least N10billion as part of the efforts to ease the work of the newly inaugurated 109 Senators and 360 members of the House of Representatives.
The contracts, The Nation gathered authoritatively, are in respect of supply of cars, television sets, refrigerators, water dispensers and office equipment such as desk top computers, laptops, printers, scanners, and photo copying machines.
The items to be bought will replace the old ones used and purchased by members of the 8th National Assembly upon the expiration of their tenure.
Cars, including SUVs, for the use of lawmakers top the list of items to be purchased.
Vehicles alone will cost the National Assembly a hefty amount.
The 8th National Assembly spent an estimated N6.6billion to purchase exotic cars for lawmakers.
It is expected that much more will be spent in this current dispensation.
Well-placed sources said contractors are already warming up to have their own piece of the coming largesse.
The contracts for vehicle supply and insurance cover alone will cost the tax payer about half a billion naira, sources said.
One of the sources said no fewer than 600 televisions sets are also expected to be supplied.
It is also expected that contracts will be awarded in respect of the installation of CCTV cameras in the NASS complex.
A source said past efforts to install the cameras have not succeeded.
“Within the last few years, several contracts have been repeatedly awarded for the supply and installation of CCTV cameras at hundreds of millions of Naira but remain far from being 100% functional as things have been lost without the cameras recording anything to solve such little mysteries,” the source said.
“All the new Senators and Reps will soon make arrangements to purchase brand new vehicles befitting their status as the N34 million jeeps and the N14 million cars used by the 2015- 2019 Senators and Honourable members were sold off to them at between N1 million and N1.5million each.
“The amounts were deducted or settled from their severance packages and all outgoing legislators are traditionally entitled to the privilege of going away with some office furnishings, especially refrigerators, giant photocopiers, laptops and desktop computers because the National Assembly management will supply brand new ones to incoming legislators as well as those returning to the National Assembly.”
A NASS contractor who requested anonymity told The Nation that “this is the first time the real APC people will be in control of the National Assembly and just one move, for instance, the mere choice of ‘bad’ chairmen for the two legislative chambers’ Services Committees may have implications for the way business is carried on here.”
A September 2018 official memo entitled ‘Invitation for pre-qualification’ and also advertised as part of the national tenders states as follows:
“The National Assembly wishes to notify the General Public of its intention to pre-qualify competent and reputable companies for the under listed contracts being contemplated under 2018 Budget:
(i) ICT (LOT 1);
(ii) Vehicles (LOT 2);
(iii) Office Equipment (LOT 3);
(iv) Furniture (LOT4);
(v) Building/Civil Engineering Works (LOT 5);
(vi) Consultancy/Training (LOT 6).
The NASS has a budget of about N125 billion for this year much of which is earmarked for the settlement of the severance pay of former senators and Reps as well as their legislative aides.
The contracts exclude provision of accommodation for the legislators.
Members of the House of Representatives alone are to receive a total of N10.8bn allowances for accommodation and furniture within their first three months.