The Speaker of the House of Representatives Dr Tajudeen Abbas, says the House would review the obsolete National Housing Fund Scheme Act of 1992 in line with the current economic reality in the country
Dr Abbas disclosed this while declaring open the Investigative hearing organised by the House Ad-hoc Committee on Non-Remittance of contributions to the National Housing Fund and the utilisation of the fund from 2011 to date.
Speaking through the Deputy Speaker Benjamin Kalu, the Speaker said the scheme, which was designed to ensure that Nigerians have access to affordable housing has become obsolete hence the need for review.
” The National Housing Fund (NHF) represents a commitment to addressing one of the most fundamental needs of our citizens –affordable housing. Established by the NHF Act of 1992, this scheme which was designed to ensure that Nigerians have access to affordable housing mandates all employers – in both the private and public sectors – to contribute 2.5% of their workers’ monthly earnings into this Fund.
“As you are aware, offending sections 20 & 21 of this Act is liable to both fine and imprisonment.
“As a noble initiative rooted in the principles of collective responsibility, the scheme identifies the critical need to ensure access to affordable housing by hard-working Nigerians, in order to bridge the housing deficit gap in the country.
“The House was therefore alarmed to receive allegations of non-remittance by employers and in other cases, mismanagement and misappropriation of the hard-earned salaries of Nigerian workers, by the administering institution.”
The Speaker pointed out that it was within this context that the House resolved to investigate the alleged non-remittance to the National Fund and critically review the utilization of the Fund from 2011 to date.
He urged the Committee to embark on the investigation with a profound sense of responsibility, “bearing in mind that the National Housing Fund holds the potential to transform the lives of countless hardworking Nigerians by providing them with the opportunity to secure affordable housing”.
He advised the Members of the Committee that as the investigative hearing Commenced they be guided by principles of fairness, equity, and diligence, saying “Our mission is not only to uncover any irregularities but also to propose solutions that will strengthen the NHF and ensure it serves its intended purpose, while also preventing a reoccurrence of these issues”.
While expressing total confidence in the collective wisdom and dedication, also the expertise of the members of the Committee, the Speaker said “Together, we have the power to protect the rights of Nigerians to affordable housing through the National Housing Fund, and we shall fight vigorously to so protect these rights”.
The Chairman of the committee Mr Dachung Bagos, assured that all the agencies that would appear before it would be given fair hearing to be able to get the true position of things concerning the scheme.