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Senate Passes Bill to Regulate Real Estate Business

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The Senate on Wednesday passed a bill to establish the Real Estate Regulatory Council of Nigeria.

The passage of the bill is coming 17 days after a 21-storey building in Ikoyi, Lagos collapsed on November 1, 2021 which claimed over 40 lives, with several others injured.

The Council when established will, among others, curb fraudulent practices and ensure that the real estate business conforms with the National Building Code in Nigeria.

The bill which scaled third reading during plenary is tagged: The Real Estate Regulatory Council of Nigeria (Establishment) Bill, 2021.

Sponsored by Senator Aliyu Wamakko and read for the first time on April 28, 2021, while it scaled second reading on June 22, 2021.

The passage of the bill was sequel to the consideration of a report on the bill by the Senate Committee on Establishment and Public Service.

The report was laid during plenary by the Deputy Chief Whip, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi.

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Senator Nicholas Tofowomo, who presented the report on behalf of the Committee Chairman, Ibrahim Shekarau, said the establishment of the Real Estate Council of Nigeria would provide efficient, effective and transparent administration of the business of real estate development in the country.

According to him, the Council would be responsible for prescribing minimum standards for the conduct of the businesses of real estate development across the country.

He recalled that the bill seeking to establish the Real Estate Council of Nigeria was passed by both chambers of the eighth National Assembly, but was not assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The lawmaker said the President’s refusal to withhold assent to the bill was not unconnected with certain observations raised by stakeholders at the time.

According to him: “Those observations have been taken care of in this report by the Committee following the engagement with stakeholders to ensure that real estate business in Nigeria conforms with the Money Laundering Act 2011 (as amended) and the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit Act 2018 in terms of Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorism Financing due diligence compliance”.

He stressed that when established, the Council would standardize the business of real estate by regulating the conduct of transactions; and provide enabling environment and transparency in the business of real estate development in Nigeria.

The legislator stated that the Council would also curb fraudulent practices to ensure that the real estate business confirms with the National Building Code in Nigeria; as well as create an innovative and sustainable environment to promote Nigeria as a real estate investment destination in Africa and the world.

Also on Wednesday, two bills seeking to establish the Federal Orthopedic Hospital, Patigi, Kwara State; and Federal University of Agriculture, Akure, Ondo State, passed second reading in the Senate.

The bills were sponsored by Senators Sadiq Suleiman Umar (Kwara North) and Patrick Ayo Akinyelure (Ondo Central).

The bills after scaling second reading were referred by the Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, who presided over plenary to the Committees on Health (Secondary and Tertiary); and Tertiary Institutions and TETFUND for further inputs.

The two committees have four weeks to report back to Senate plenary.

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