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‘Land Use Act is a problem’


PHOTO: landsurveyorsunited

PHOTO: landsurveyorsunited

• Estate surveyors propose lands reform commission
• Seek national land policy, review of compensation rates

In the proposal, the estate surveyors have asked government to jettison the piecemeal direct construction of new housing units and create the enabling environment that will grant the low income earners access to serviced plots and affordable housing finance through the provision of site and services scheme.

Grappling with the problem of carrying out proper inventory of government assets and lack of reliable database, land economists have urged the federal authorities to set up a Lands Reform Commission for the purpose of establishing uniform standard of land administration and reform of the land tenure system.

The specialists, formally known as land and valuation officers in government circles in a submission to the Minister, Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, under the umbrella of the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV), observed that the Land Use Act, which is the extant law regulating land administration has posed challenges in the country.

They however, recommended standardization of land processing and titling fees across the states to make them affordable for developmental purposes as well as re-designing the certificate of occupancy to facilitate easy recording of subsequent transaction on the title document.

The six-page document obtained by The Guardian titled ‘The Position of NIESV on Housing, Land Administration and Assessment/Payment of Compensation’ noted, “ members of the profession and the general public have also experienced delay in obtaining Certificates of Occupancy and Minister’s consent for secondary transactions and landed properties allocated by the Federal Government.

“The negative impact of these delays on the economy is unquantifiable as businesses requiring injection of borrowed capital had collapsed as a result of the failure of the ministry to perfect mortgage transactions for the parties.”

NIESV which further observed the growing need and deficit in terms of quantity and quality of homes, particularly for low-income group; called on the government for special intervention to stem the worsening housing crisis in Nigeria.

According to the estate surveyors and valuers, the government should jettison the piecemeal direct construction of new housing units and create the enabling environment that will grant the low income earners access to serviced plots and affordable housing finance through the provision of site and services scheme.

Some of their proposals include, ONE: Agencies of government and professionals in housing should organize low income workers, artisans, traders, mechanics, casual workers into housing cooperatives for the purpose of accessing single interest rate from the Federal Mortgage of Bank of Nigeria (FMBN).
TWO: Government should grant special intervention fund from the sovereign wealth fund, recovered stolen fund and VAT proceeds to the housing sector through FMBN for low-income earners.

THREE: Federal Government should direct EFCC to investigate and prosecute the defaulting institutional contributors to the National Housing Fund (NHF) under the NHF Act as a strategy for ensuring continuous flow of fund into the fund.

Similarly, they also urged the government to approve and implement the draft national Land Policy for effective and efficient management of land resources.

They suggested that the minister set in motion a process of reviewing the compensation rates in the country as the current rates are impediment to successful land acquisition and hitch free government project execution.

NIESV President, Dr. Bolarinde Patunola-Ajayi confirmed that the letter has been sent to the Minister and the institution is waiting for formal meeting.

Meanwhile, at its first media conference, Patunola-Ajayi disclosed that part of his five point agenda includes reviewing of NIESV constitution, rules and regulations of the Estate Surveyors and Valuers Registration Board of Nigeria (ESVARBON) and create a joint task force under the compliance and monitoring unit as well as good corporate governance.

“NIESV would not grow without vibrant relationship with relevant international professional bodies such as international valuation standard board, Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and American Society of Appraisals, ” Patunola-Ajayi said.

He pledged to encourage members and firms to form mega-practices through sustainable institutional and legal framework or a vehicle to meet any international standard.

The president was of the view that by the time government reforms its programme on housing, there would be a significant improvement that may benefit the masses.

Patunola-Ajayi urged the government to inject funds into housing and power, noting that money available now should be injected into these two critical sectors.

“The situation in the country presently is really tense and this tension could be doused if there is significant improvement in both the housing and power sectors. Certainly, improvement in them the time some would increase activities and by the end of this year, issue of unemployment and general standard of living would also improve.

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