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National Housing Fund (Establishment) Act, 2018: Analysis & Recommendations For Legislative Review

In a letter dated March 19, 2019, addressed to the leadership of the National Assembly and read at Plenary on the floor of the Senate on Tuesday, April 2, 2019, President Muhammadu Buhari declined assent to eight Bills earlier passed by the federal parliament, one of which was the National Housing Fund (Establishment) Act, 2018 (“the new NHF Act”). Predicating this decision on his powers under Section 58(4) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), the President specifically attributed his decline to give assent to the new NHF Act to the various levies it imposes on Nigerians and business entities, which as have been argued by relevant industry stakeholders, would have negative impact on Nigerian workers and also be disruptive and punitive to industries and other sectors of the Nigerian economy, if allowed to take effect. The new NHF Act was passed by both Chambers of the National Assembly to repeal and replace the National Housing Fund Act, 1992 (“the 1992 Act”)[1].

This article reviews the controversial provisions of the new NHF Act with respect to the statutory contributions required to be made to the National Housing Fund (“the Fund”) as well as the mandatory investment required to be made in the Fund by banks, insurance companies, pension funds and cement manufacturing companies/importers for the purpose of growing the Fund.

Analysis is also made of the negative socio-economic impacts which the forceful diversion of funds from the affected individuals and corporates, to the Fund, would likely have on the larger economy.

1 The “National Housing Fund (Establishment) Bill, 2018” was passed in July 2018 by the House of Representatives and received concurrent passage by the Senate on February 18, 2019 as an Act of the National Assembly.