Improved land administration in states seen growing IGR
by CHUKA UROKO
June 16, 2016 | 10:13 am| | | Start Conversation
Faced with biting economic conditions, growing expenditure and dwindling allocation from the centre, many state governments in Nigeria have started improving on their land administration – increasing speed and convenience, and reducing cost of registration of property for both residence and business.
A BusinessDay survey reveals that Lagos and Kano are leading the 34 other states of the country plus the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, in this development analysts believe, will grow the internally generated revenue of these states in both the short and long run.
Lagos, particularly, has so improved on the various aspects of its land administration that its Lands Bureau, in just 10 months, from May 2015 to March this year, generated revenue totalling N8.1 billion with application for Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) alone contributing over N3 billion.
According to our survey, the speed of land registration in Lagos now is such that it takes just 14 days for an applicant who has met the necessary requirements, including payment of all relevant fees, to pick up his/her C of O from the government, while in Kano, it takes an applicant six weeks to get his deal done.
Bode Agoro, permanent secretary at the state’s Lands Bureau, said recently that as part of a two-year projection for future development, the state government will be deploying integrated and automated system in its land administration and transactions.
In Lagos, the processes related to land matters in the state could even be concluded in less than one month from the day an applicant for state-owned land sends in his application. “Building approvals for those who are ready to develop their plots or parcels of land in compliance with the law is now treated with utmost dispatch and the ministry of physical planning and urban development are now prepared to ensure that building plan approvals are obtained within four weeks, provided all necessary documents were submitted”, Agoro assured.
On financial implication, rates and charges for registration in the state vary from location to location, depending on the status of the area. In line with this, what a property/land owner in Victoria Island, Ikoyi and the Lekki schemes pays as rate is different from what a property/land owner in Ikotun, Agege, Epe, Surulere, Ikeja, Maryland, Ilupeju pays.
For purposes of assessment and determination of what is to be paid on any landed property in the state, rates applicable in the location of the property is multiplied by the total land seize to arrive at the assessment. In every case, the charges payable are as follows: Consent Fee, 8 percent; Capital Gains Tax, 2 percent, Stamp Duty, 2 percent; Registration Fee, 3 percent, bringing the total to 15 percent of the assessment.
In Kano, the state government has modernized and improved acquisition processes with technology-driven initiatives. An official of the state government says the processes have been so simplified that it has speed of registration and the result is the increase in registered land titles to almost a million, up from about 250,000 a couple of years ago.
In Ogun State, there has been a significant increase in the speed, a little improvement in the process, but no known or visible reduction in the cost of registering land in the state. The state’s e-platform approach speeds up land acquisition and documentation, making the whole process transparent.
The Abuja Geographic Information System (AGIS) has reduced the time and improved on the process, but not the cost of acquiring land in the federal capital territory (FCT). Our survey reveals that the establishment of this system has saved the FCT Administration about N10 billion, which was lost to land racketeering and fraud that are today a thing of the past.
In Enugu State, the process used to be long, tainted and costly. It was more of a cash-and-carry transaction and the amount paid depended on the size of the land and also on the value attached to the applicant, but not so any more. Everything about land has improved significantly since the new administration in the state came in with new land measures.
In Akwa Ibom, however, our survey reveals a long and tedious process that is also costly. It was further learnt that while the application for the issuance of C of O is expected to take between one and two weeks, this is not usually the case as many of those who applied are yet to be given the required documents, months after.
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