The Federal Government’s inability to pay suppliers of the 2,500 high capacity buses it ordered as a palliative measure to cushion the effect of the January increment in fuel pump price may soon cause untold hardship for commuters nationwide as the automobile companies have threatened to withdraw their vehicles from the operators of the government mass assisted scheme.
Six automobile companies including National Truck Manufacturers, (NTM); Tata Motors, VON Automobiles (Ashok Leyland); ANAMMCO (Mercedes) Globe Motors (Hyundai and Toyota) and Elizade Motors (Toyota) were contracted by the government to supply the high capacity vehicles valued at over N15 billion through a letter by the Urban Development Bank on January 8, 2012.
But five months after, the automobile company were yet to be paid for the first batch of the supply of 1250 units of buses valued at N8.9 billion, a development which has necessitated the suppliers to threaten to withdraw all the buses pending when the government shall pay.
A source told Vanguard, that the suppliers had perfected plans to retrieve the vehicle from operators of the government mass assisted scheme soon to recover the huge debt.
According to the source, the suppliers planned to withdraw the vehicles and park them in the bank warehouses pending the payment by the government.
It further stated that the next batch of supply of 1250 units has been put on hold as a result of the huge debt.
He said: “As I speak with you now, we are groaning under high bank interest rate and may close shops as a result of government’s refusal to pay the debt. We have discontinued further supply of the remaining 1250 units and may consider the option of suing the government to recover our money.
“When government invited us to supply the buses they gave us only two days to do so and we borrowed at a very high bank interest rate thinking that the government would live up to its promise to pay in good time. But five months down the line, the ministries of Finance and Investment are yet to contact us.” Vangurad Nigeria
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