…warn dubious developers against unwholesome practices
By Levinus Nwabughiogu-Abuja
House of Representatives has said that the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) on yearly basis suffers N800 billion losses in revenues accruable from the real estate sector.
Chairman of the House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee to Investigate the Operations of Real Estate Developers in the FCT, Hon. Blessing Onuh made the disclosure during the opening of a two-day workshop on the operations of real estate developers in the FCT in Abuja.
She said: “Take for example, a house or land is sold for N500 million, the lawyer gets his legal fees, the agent gets his brokerage fee, the bank gets its transaction charges and the government gets nothing if the transaction is not presented for registration. And this kind of transactions go on in volumes everyday unregulated, leaving the government with the perennial struggles of meeting up its responsibility of providing a decent welfare for its staff and providing modern amenities to its people. Many of these transactions are done in cash making the industry a safe haven for money laundering and illicit financial flows.”
Regretting that most Nigerians had been shortchanged by some developers, the lawmaker said the committee would not allow the practice to continue.
“This is necessitated from the hundreds of petitions submitted to this committee by teeming members of the public who have been shortchanged by dubious developers operating freely in the industry. A pathetic case is the case of the petroleum and natural gas senior staff association of Nigeria which paid over N4.2 billion to a developer since 2019 and is yet to get even one house delivered to its staff. And thousands of similar cases.
“The committee in different oversight inspections noted with great concern many estates at different levels of completion, some 100 percent completed and occupied but developed without building approvals or without proper titles. We noticed some estates developed on green areas and lands reserved for public institutions like schools. Some developers invade plots without documents demarcate and sell to unsuspecting members of the public and display a high sense of impunity emboldened by the belief that they are friends of the authority and nothing can happen to them,” Onuh said.
Also speaking, the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep Ahmed Wase warned the developers against committing some nefarious acts, hailing the committee for checkmating their untoward practices.
“Developers should stop this. People would go to the bank, take loans and at the end of the day, nothing to show. I think it is not right. We should be guided by our conscience. I charge all those involved to have a change of heart and do the right thing and cooperate with the committee”, he said.
Similarly, the FCT Minister, Mohammed Bello pledged to corporate with the Committee of the House in achieving the lofty desire of government to providing decent accommodation for all.
“I still want to reiterate that the way to is through the private sector involvement in partnership with the public sector under strong regulation. I believe working together with the committee and recommendations you are going to proffer, it is still not too late to recover lost ground. We have no option but to work together under the right laws and regulations. Despite all this, PPP is still the most viable option available to us in meeting housing, but under strict regulations that would protect the estate investor, government and off-takers as well as those financing the projects along the entire value chain,” he said.