Posted by By Kingsley Omonobi on
President Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday launched the pioneer consumer car finance scheme for military and police with about 10,530 officers getting brand new 406,307 and 206 Peugeot cars even as he gave his administration thumbs up for the giant strides recorded since the introduction of NEEDS, and the various reforms programme noting that even sceptics and cynics are now singing his praises.
ABUJA ó President Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday launched the pioneer consumer car finance scheme for military and police with about 10,530 officers getting brand new 406,307 and 206 Peugeot cars even as he gave his administration thumbs up for the giant strides recorded since the introduction of NEEDS, and the various reforms programme noting that even sceptics and cynics are now singing his praises.
Speaking at the occasion held at the Mogadishu Cantonment, Abuja, the president said, "These critics and cynics have imbibed the NEEDS objective that is achieving tremendous successes, and let me say we thank objective critics for keeping us on our toes."
His words, "Two years ago, I unfolded to Nigerians, a dream of a new Nigeria in the hands of God. I said I see hope. I enumerated my vision and hope of a new emerging Nigeria. Therefore, I thank God for this day."
"Because we had a strong plan of action as encapsulated in NEEDS, this administration has tenaciously and rigorously pursued its reform programmes even against the strongest criticisms. The rebirth of this scheme is therefore a realization of this administrationís commitment to building and rehabilitating our middle class."
"The recent agreement of the Paris Club to cancel $18billion of our foreign debt is one of the positive outcomes of our reform agenda and dividend of democracy."
"Todayís launching which is to revive the middle class is worth celebrating. It is a realization of this administrationís commitment to building and rehabilitating the middle class. I am happy that despite all odds, the scheme has weathered the storm."
He assured every interested officer that they would benefit saying, "Officers donít have to worry as to whether it will get to them or not. We have divided it into four stages and before we leave government, every officer in the military and police who wish to have one will get."
Commending Peugeot Automobile of Nigeria and the consortium of banks led by Standard Trust Bank for believing in the economic agenda and reforms of his administration and investing in the scheme, the president said such initiatives will make buying of used cars unattractive, boost local production and assembly of vehicles and create employment.
Minister of Defence, Dr. Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso in his remarks, explained that the presidential car ownership scheme is a laudable initiative of the president aimed at boosting the morale as well as motivating officers of the military and the police to offer their best to the defence of the nation.
"This scheme will provide 10,530 officers of the Armed Forces and the Police with brand new Peugeot cars comprising 406,307 and 206 models. The beneficiaries are made up of 6,719 officers of the Army, Navy and Airforce, and 3,811 Nigeria Police officers," he said adding, "The cars are procured from PAN through arrangements with a conglomerate of six Nigerian banks led by Standard Trust Bank and generous and convenient terms have been negotiated on behalf of all potential beneficiaries."
"While PAN delivers the cars, the conglomerate of banks pays for them. Beneficiaries will in turn re-pay these banks in a 60-month, or five years period with minimal charges. Where a beneficiary retires from service, the balance of repayment monies will be deducted from his or her terminal entitlements," Kwankwaso clarified.
Managing Director of STB, Tony Elumelu in his address said, "What we celebrate here today is much more significant than physical vehicles. Today, we celebrate the rebirth of the middle class. Today we celebrate hope for better tomorrow for Nigerian workers and civil servants. Today we celebrate a new dawn in Nigeria."
Announcing that a consortium of banks were already working towards a similar revolution in the area of shelter, Elumelu said, "it is instructive to say that we as bankers are now able to partner with government in all these development initiatives as a result of two factors; increased and continuing confidence in the government and the enhanced lending capacity resulting from ongoing banking reforms."
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