By Rukayat Adeyemi
The Technical Committee on Real Estate Regulation, an offshoot of the Lagos State Real Estate Regulatory Authority (LASRERA), on Thursday held its inaugural meeting to develop a robust policy for the sector.
Mrs Toke Benson-Awoyinka, Special Adviser to Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Housing, said on the occasion that it was pertinent to create a robust housing policy with the stakeholders’.
According to her, the meeting is now necessary with the effect of the COVID-19 waning.
Benson-Awoyinka stated that the committee’s mandate was to design a policy and fiscal framework to institute and promote global best practices in the state.
She noted that the policy emanating from the meeting would curtail the malpractice in the real estate sector and improve financial transparency and fiscal responsibility.
According to her, the committee’s mandate is in line with the Executive’s agenda of transforming Lagos State into a 21st century model of effective and efficient governance.
The special adviser stated that the committee was charged with addressing the challenges in the sector, with particular attention to reforming the Home Ownership Model, to increase housing stock and reduce deficit.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the governor’s aide led the other members of the team of talents in diversity and expertise.
Some of the members of the team are:Rabiu Olowo, Commissioner for Finance; Moyosore Onigbanjo, Commissioner for Justice; Mr Babatunde Obaniyi of United Capital Trustees; Mr Kayode Omotoso of Mortgage Bankers Association of Nigeria (MBAN) and Mr Afolabi Balogun of Libra Law Offices.
Also included are:Mrs Funmi Ekundayo of STL Trustees; Mr Kehinde Ogundimu of NMRC; Dr Roland Igbinoba of Pison Housing; Mr Bisi Onasanya of the Address Homes and Mr Femi Adewole of the FHF.
Others are: Mr Owolabi Salami of AllOaks Insurance Limited; Mr Demola Sogunle of Stanbic IBTC; Deji Adeogun of Philips, Charles, Anthony LLP.
Benson-Awoyinka said that to find lasting solutions to the challenges in the sector, the committee would be required to tackle the set up of a comprehensive system and framework resolving financing.
According to her, the team will create a trusteeship for the management of real estate remittances for off-takers, and a system to stagger payments to developers where off-plan payments are applicable.
“The committee will set up a governance structure which will oversee the entire real estate framework and stakeholders’ engagement in the state, to minimise trust deficiency.
“It will be responsible for the centralisation of insurance management for all real estate assets, which will dovetail into the existing Lagos State risk management framework, to further boost confidence and safeguard investment.
“The team will create and implement Strata Title Law, to drive revenue and encourage the revivification of unused capital in the state, as well as improve accessibility to housing for citizens.”
Benson-Awoyinka noted that the team would transform Lagos State into a pacesetter for financial growth and inclusivity using real estate as a channel for its citizens in Africa.
In his address, Mr Rabiu Olowo, Commissioner for Finance, Lagos State, implored all stakeholders in the industry to work closely as a team in transforming the real estate sector in the state to become one of the best sectors across the globe.
Olowo said the initiative of the committee had strategic broad responsibilities with its focus on improving financial transaction and building internal and external investors’ confidence.
He stated that the introduction of a real estate trustee to help manage off takers- investors funds and gradual re-imbursements to real estate developers would reduce the overbearing exposure or risk investors face in the industry.
The finance commissioner noted that the subscriber’s funds would only be accessible to developers upon approval from the trustees and the government.
According to him, the required approval will cover both quality of deliverables and milestone.
“Transparency and governance in the real estate sector has become very crucial considering the increased reported cases of fraudulent activities and unethical practices by some real estate practitioner/property developers in the sector across the state,” he said.
In his remark, Mr Moyosore Onigbanjo, the Attorney-General of Lagos State, said that LASRERA was set to do great things in the sector, and that is why it had gathered experts in areas such as finance, law, real estate, among others as members of the committee.
According to him, the task upon the committee is beyond Lagos State because whatever Lagos State does, usually has a ripple effect across its borders.
“As the Attorney-General of the state, I pledge that the state in partnership with other stakeholders will provide the right regulatory framework for real estate transaction.
“We want to see an end to the weird real estate practice presently in place in the sector ,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the attorney-general of the state inaugurated the sub committee and they had a technical session afterwards to kick-start the task before them.