The House of Representatives has passed the N894.842 billion supplementary budget transmitted by President Muhammadu Buhari through Second Reading.
While introducing the Bill, the Majority Leader, Hon. Alhassan Ado-Doguwa explained that the President’s request was based on two main sub-heads, namely: health and security.
Hon. Ado-Doguwa who stressed for every lawmaker to be concerned about the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, harped on the need for provision of appropriation of adequate funds to curtail the pandemic.
He said further that the inclusion of security to get additional funding was vital as a way of addressing the security challenges in the country.
The House however, referred the Supplementary budget to the House Committee on Appropriation, chaired by Hon. Muktar Betara for further legislative action.
In the same vein, the House unveiled plans to investigate operations of Real Estate Developers in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) with a view to plug financial crime in the sector.
The resolution was passed sequel to the adoption of a motion of urgent national importance sponsored by Hon. Boma Goodhead harped on the need for collaboration among various security agencies including Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN), National Housing Fund (NHF) and Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) with a view to plugging financial crime in the sector.
While noting that the industry has become a safe haven for stolen funds and money laundering, the lawmaker called for the setting up of an Ad-hoc Committee that will investigate complaints on the misconduct of Real Estate Developers and create a forum for members of the public to lodge complaints against such fraudulent developers.
“The House note the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) is one of Nigeria’s top property hotspot as well as the political and governmental heart of the country, and being one of the two primary international business gateways into Nigeria.
“This investment has allowed it to develop a burgeoning real estate industry to meet the growing need for housing.
“The House is aware that further real estate development means further economic growth as evidenced by the growing number of real estate developers in the FCT proposing off-takers housing solutions to individuals.
“The House is further aware that complaints of misrepresentation, deceit, fraud, non-delivery, incessant breach of contracts with zero consequences, impunity, unethical/illegal clauses that offer no protection for the client’s investment, money laundering, poor quality houses, etc.; has continued to dominate the sector, this was further exposed recently by reports on premium times online media and more recent remarks by the EFCC.
“The House observed also the harsh inhumane implication of these malpractices on individuals who having paid in full for homes continue to pay rent in their respective homes while waiting for their houses to be completed with no clear delivery date as the contracts are constantly being breached.
“The House observed that a lack of regulation or ineffective regulations, impunity, and lack of accountability by real estate developers has resulted in financial losses and caused and continues to cause untold hardships on investors.
“The House is worried that despite the operation of supervisory agencies such as FCT Urban and Regional Department, Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA), EFCC, the malpractices in the real estate sector persists,” she noted.
To this end, the House mandated the Ad-hoc Committee to fully investigate the Real Estate Developers suspected of violating applicable laws and liaise with relevant enforcement agencies with a view to prosecution, with a view to putting an end to these sharp practices.
The Ad-hoc Committee is also expected to interface with relevant stakeholders and MDAs towards formulating a law, issuing guidelines or other appropriate legislation/regulations for the multi-trillion naira sector, with a view to enhance monitoring, regulation, and ensure the protection of investors of subscribers from illegal transactions and eliminate unethical real estate practices in the FCT.
The House also tasked the Ad-hoc Committee to liaise with relevant MDAs to revisit the issue of compiling a database on property transactions and newly approved developments while also ensuring that real estate developers are duly licensed before engaging in the practice.