NIESV demands reform of Abia land administration

To enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of land administration, estate surveyors and valuers are clamouring for the review of the law establishing property tax assessment and administration in Abia State.

They said the reform should include assigning key professional roles to its members. The body claims invasion of other professionals into land administration affairs in the public service.

The national executive council of the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV) made the submission during the investiture of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu as patron called for establishment of State Valuation Office and appointment of a Valuer General to improve revenue generation and proper management/accountability of public assets.

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“The creation of valuation office at the State level and branches in each local government will ensure; effective and efficient handling of property taxes; preparation and regular updating of valuation lists for property rates for the local government councils as well as property income taxes for the State board of internal revenue,” according to NIESV President, Rowland Abonta.

Abonta who led delegation to the Government House, Umuahia, also lauded the digitization of land records in the state through the Abia Land Information System, but faulted some aspects of the law is a misnomer.

“The work of the Abia Land Information System and its consultants serves as necessary tools for modern land administration but the Chairman of the Board of Internal Revenue to appoint anybody of his choice to undertake valuation for the land use charge. We draw your attention to the fact only registered estate surveyors and valuers are empowered to carry out valuation for any purpose.

“Section 29(4) of the law is defective in that it does not specify basis of assessment. Section 7 on rate payable to defective because it is not specific on annual value but rather talks about market value of the property assessed.

“Property tax is annual charges, which should be based on annual income of the subject property. Section 15 is defective in that it provided for appointment of Assessment Appeal Tribunal without specifying inclusion of the registered estate surveyor and valuer.”

NIESV observed that the state have not established the land use and allocation committee as provided by the land use act for some years now and recommended that the committee be set up to play its advisory role on the issue of land allocation in the state.

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The president further urged the government to advantage of the Federal Government’s reforms programme on systematic land titling. “The goals and objective of the program are to empower Nigerians to have easy access to land in their various states, enhance secured land tenure system and effective land titling and encourage wealth creation through optimal use of land as an economic commodity and a factor of production.

“The titling scheme which has been implemented in Kano, Ondo, and ongoing now in many states including Anambra, has the advantage of ensuring that every parcel of land in the state is properly captured and titled with great potential for internally generated revenue for the government. This gives opportunity of fund sourcing for the title holder with his/her title documents,” Abonta said.

Chinedum Uwaegbulam

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