CEM REPORT, FINANCE | The Senate ad-hoc committee set up to investigate N6 trillion owed to the FG has been directed to turn their queries to the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF).
The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, told the committee investigating the unpaid land rents owed to the FG that the Presidential Implementation Committee (PIC) issued receipts on FG-owned property and reports directly to the presidency.
In a meeting with the Senate ad hoc committee chaired by Sen. Adamu Aliero, the Minister stated that issuing receipts on the FG properties was under the purview of the office of the SGF and not the Ministry of Works and Housing.
Fashola added that he had on several occasions sort to meet with PIC but to no avail, Guardian reports.
Directing the Senate Committee to turn their request seeking the account to the PIC, he stressed that the Ministry of Housing and Works have zero control over the PIC.
“About two years or so when they started passing C-of-Os to me to sign and I said where is the delegation?
Because the power to sign C-of-Os is vested in the President for land belonging to the federal government and in the state governors for lands belonging to the states.
“In the process, I saw a body called the Presidential Implementation Committee (PIC), the body that was supposedly issuing receipts and all of that. Anytime I sought to find this body, nobody showed up.
“As we are getting close to the end of term, I now formally wrote, I asked the Director of Lands to write them, to ask to tell me what they are doing.
“They (PIC) replied that they are not accountable to our office they are in the SGF office and that they report to the presidency.
It should be recalled that following the adoption of a motion by Sen. Yusuf Yusuf, the upper chamber in March set up an ad hoc committee to recover over N6 trillion unpaid ground rate from property owners in the country
[READ ALSO] Multiple Exchange Rates Hampering Nigerian Economy Growth – World Bank
He argued that since 1992, over two million houses across the 36 states of the federation, including the FCT had been built and allocated to beneficiaries by the federal government, citing that the majority have no evidence of payment of ground rate on their property.
Sen. Adamu Aliero Aliero on his part said the committee would over the next week’s engage the Presidential Implementation Committee (PIC).
He noted that N18 billion had been recovered and that efforts are being made to collect the balance.
He added that the committee would unravel all the property owned and sold by the Federal Government in various states and FCT and the payment mode of the ground rent
“They explained to us how much has been collected so far. They have close to N18 billion and efforts are being made to collect the remaining money.
“Within the next three weeks, we will come back for an update. I’m sure they will be able to collect whatever is due to the federal government on all federal government property either sold or still under the hold of the federal government.”
The Senator also noted that recovering the amount would be beneficial towards boosting Nigeria’s revenue challenges, adding:
“You will agree with me that in this era of revenue shortfall and the federal government is trying to diversify all sorts of revenue other than oil. When they hear N6 trillion, definitely, a lot of attention will be given to it.
“I know the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) is doing its best to diversify revenue collection. We have a nominal increase from N800 billion in 2017 to over N5 trillion now.
“If we have ground rent added to it, certainly it will reduce the incidence of borrowing by the federal government.”