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Reps Speaker Abba tasks ad-hoc panel investigating NHF on equity, fairness

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Jonas Ezieke, Abuja

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon.Tajudeen Abbas on Wednesday charged an Ad-hoc Committee investigating the non-remittance of contributions to the National Housing Fund and utilisation of the Fund from 2011 till date to begin the investigation and ensure equity and fairness to all investors.
In a remark at the event, the Speaker said that the National Housing Fund (NHF) represents a commitment to addressing one of the most fundamental needs of our citizens which is affordable housing.
Established by the NHF Act of 1992, the scheme he said, 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 the Fund.
Abbas noted that the offending sections 20 & 21 of the Act has made provision for convicts liable to both fine and imprisonment.
The House he said will look into the law which is now obsolete being operational from 1992 till date and calls for a review, adding that there are other issues that the House will inject to make it fit for purpose.
According to him, 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.
Both th Speaker and Ad-hoc Committee Chairman, Hon.Musa Baggos said they are 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.
It is within this context that the House convened to investigate the alleged non-remittance to the National Housing Fund and critically review the utilization of the Fund from 2011 to date.
The Speaker said that the mandate of the committee is a crucial one that resonates deeply with the well-being and aspirations of the Nigerian worker.
He said, “Your task, as members of this Ad-Hoc Committee, is to shed light on the utilization of these contributions, to ensure that the NHF fulfils its mandate to provide affordable housing solutions.
“The allegations of non-remittance are grievous, and we must uncover the truth, in order to hold those responsible accountable, and safeguard the interests of those who have diligently contributed to this Fund.
“I implore this Committee to embark on this 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.
“As the investigative hearing commences, let us be guided by principles of fairness, equity, and diligence. 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”.
The Speaker further said that he has every confidence in the collective wisdom and dedication, also the expertise of the members of this Committee to deliver on the mandate.
The House Committee he noted has the power to protect the rights of Nigerians to affordable housing through the National Housing Fund, and everyone should fight vigorously to so protect these rights.
The Speaker called for stakeholders input into the hearing noting that it is crucial that the Fund is managed transparently, efficiently,
and in strict adherence to the law.

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