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More UAE Rain Expected in the Coming Days

UAE residents can expect more rainfall in the coming days, as the National Centre of Meteorology (NCM) continues its cloud seeding operations, with five having already taken place in the past 48 hours alone.

In 2019 so far, the centre has carried out 181 cloud seeding operations. It uses aircrafts to shoot salt flares into clouds that have rain droplets to enhance the chance of rainfall, which it aims to increase by 15-25 percent, the head of cloud seeding Khalid Al Obeidii told Khaleej Times.

Sunday saw heavy rainfall and storms take place across the UAE, with major tourism attractions such as The Dubai Mall experiencing flooding and temporary store closures.

Videos and images were widely distributed on social media showing people wading through stores on the mall’s ground floor, in the Fashion Avenue area. The country also experienced major traffic jams and waterlogged roads.

Some flights were also delayed at Dubai and Abu Dhabi airports but resumed early on Monday morning.

However the weather bureau has warned UAE residents to remain cautious as more heavy winds, rainfall and storms are expected.

Last year, NCM introduced a ground generator on top of mountains in the Hafeet and Fujairah areas to shoot salt flares up to the clouds to increase the chances of rain.

Source: arabianbusiness

Osinbajo Will Come Out Stronger From Travails, says Cleric

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo will come out stronger from the political challenges he is facing at the presidency, says the Assistant Provincial Pastor for Youth, North Province 6 of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Tunde Benjamins-Laniyi.

The pastor in charge of The Throneroom Parish noted challenges as part of life with no exemption, adding that one’s faith in God would make him an overcomer.

In an interview with journalists after a special church service which had in attendance the General Overseer of RCCG, Enoch Adeboye, yesterday in Abuja, the cleric described Osinbajo as a man of so much faith in God.

His words, “Everybody faces challenges; they are part of human life. Everything works together for good for them that love God. There is time for everything; time to cry and time to laugh. Nobody, no matter how highly-placed, is exempted from challenges. But the beauty of it is that at the end of the day, because of your faith in God, you will be able to overcome. So the vice president will overcome the challenges and will come out stronger.”

He decried the high level of nepotism and tribalism in the country, calling on Nigerians to demonstrate love that transcends all barriers and ethnic sentiment.

Earlier, wife of the General Overseer, Mrs. Folu Adeboye, told the congregation not to lose their peace irrespective of what is happening in their lives.

She assured the church that once God was not absent in their lives, they would emerge victorious.

In his sermon, Adeboye told the worshippers that any man who had attempted or is attempting to throw them in the Lions den would be destroyed.

Source: Guardianng

Mixed Developments Yield More Than Single-Use Properties

In its latest NMA Mixed Use Developments Report 2019, they say giving tenants more services within a single property makes the investments more attractive compared to single-use properties where one has to leave the premises to seek services from numerous locations across town.

“Mixed-Use Developments (MUDs) recorded average rental yields of 7.3 percent in 2019, being 0.4 percent points higher than the respective single-use retail, commercial office and residential themes average of 6.9 percent, attributed to increasing popularity of the mixed-use concept.

MUDs are convenient as they incorporate working, shopping and living spaces. Such investments attract the highest returns within Kilimani and Limuru Road where rental yields are 9.1 percent and 8.5 percent, respectively above the market average of 7.3 percent.”

The report added that real-estate investors should also incorporate differentiated concepts such as serviced apartments and shared offices that have emerged as new investments that provide attractive returns of 6.4 percent and 13.5 percent respectively.

MUDs offer users secure spaces for homes, shopping as well as working spaces which help beat turnaround times solely blamed on delays caused by Nairobi’s chaotic traffic, it observed.

Largely affluent Kenyan families and expatriates have created a niche market for MUDs that provide round-the-clock security allowing late night shopping, partying and flexible working hours.

Two Rivers, Ciata, Garden City, Westgate, Junction and Sarit Central are among notable MUDs that offer visitors access to numerous facilities from banks, chemists, groceries, eateries, retail shops as well as medical centres among others.

Nairobi is also experiencing a new phenomenon with multinational firms preferring to hire readily furnished offices with various branches across Nairobi that enable workers to work from different locations.

Source:businessdailyafrica

Nigerian Engineers Need Self-Cleansing To Compete Globally — Sanwo-Olu

Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has urged different associations in construction industry across Nigeria to commence self-cleansing in order to compete favourably with their counterparts around the globe.

He disclosed that the role of engineers in construction cannot be overemphasised in human daily life as virtually all other sectors rely on the construction industry to provide and maintain their accommodation, plants and infrastructure.

Speaking at the 41 Annual Conference /AGM 2019 of the Association for Consulting Engineering in Nigeria in Lagos, Sanwo-Olu, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Lagos state Ministry of Works and Infrastructure, Engr. Olujimi Hotonu, said that with the application of digital technologies, the role of construction industry is bound to become more important due to various mega trends.

“We always require the service of construction engineers to assist in area of project conception, implementation and management. Thus, it is important for us to galvanize and integrate skilled professionals, including project engineers to supervise and ensure effective management and timely completion of projects.

Speaking on “Integrating Nigerian Engineers into National Development”, Sanwo-Olu said Lagos state government believes in inclusive governance and patronage of local market as it helps in capacity building of workforce, reducing capital flight and brain drain. According to him, “We have strong belief in the professional competency of our engineers and we trust that they can hold their ground among their peers outside the country.

However, there is need for them to be encouraged through inclusion and involvement in design and execution of major projects that cut across all the aspects of engineering. On his part, the President of Association for Consulting Engineering in Nigeria, Engr. Charles Akindayomi, urged members of the association to embrace merger and acquisition which is the new global trend. He however, identified lack of widespread access to modern engineering technologies as one of the challenges that can be tackled through merger, insisting that “The stability of our economy depends on how well we sustain the country’s infrastructure development.

To ensure government patronage, we must ensure that the design and construction of our national assets are carried out in line with international best practices and standard that is compatible with our culture and environment.” The Keynote Speaker, Engr. Nurudeen Rafindadi, tasked government to address factors that limit Nigerian engineers from competing with their global counterparts such as high cost of funds and capital in establishing engineering practice and pioneering of projects generally. “Government should consider establishing infrastructure bank or credit agency that will lend at concessional rate to empower local engineering firms as it’s being practised globally”, Rafindadi noted.

Source: Vanguardng

Billionaire Raval To Build Lukenya Iron Sheets Plant

Billionaire industrialist Narendra Raval, better known as Guru, is expanding his roofing-sheet manufacturing business at a reported cost of Sh11 billion at his Lukenya property.

Mr Raval, who chairs Devki Group of Companies, told the Business Daily that Citibank and Barclays would fund the new business besides internally generated funds.

“With this new mabati plant expansion, 700 more jobs will be created and that will add to our recently acquired Sh5 billion ARM Cement deal that came with an additional 1,100 employees.

The upcoming steelmaking factory in Kwale will employ 2,100 people upon completion within the next two years,” he said.

According to regulatory filings, Mr Raval is seeking approval for the planned factory, which the National Environment Management Authority has given the public 30 days to file submissions on the project.

Mr Raval has been on an expansion spree in the last two years with two new factories under construction in Njoro, Nakuru and Mariakani in Mombasa.

In 2015, the Devki Group raked in Sh65.8 billion in annual revenue with its owner described by Forbes magazine as among Africa’s tycoons with a net worth of Sh40 billion.

Companies under the conglomerate include Devki Steel Mills, National Cement Company Uganda, Maisha Mabati Mills and Northwood Aviation.

Mr Raval is also erecting a second 1.8 million metric tonnes per annum clinker line in Kajiado where construction started this year and is to be commissioned by 2020. He is setting up another 0.75 million metric tonnes cement plant in Kilifi while the 0.88 million metric tonnes in Athi River is still underway set to be commissioned in mid-2020.

Source: businessdailyafrica

80 Per Cent of Trans-Saharan Highway Asphalted- FG

The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, Monday, said 80 per cent of 9, 895km trans-Saharan Highway, which passes through six African countries have been asphalted.

The countries are Algeria, Tunisia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria and Chad.

Speaking at the 70th session of the Trans-Saharan Road Liaison Committee (TRLC) in Abuja, Fashola said the remaining 20 per cent which is earth road would be finished as soon as possible.

In attendance were representatives of all the counties as well as the Secretary General of the TRLC, Mr Ayadi Mohammed.

The Minister said the road serves 37 regions in Africa, connects 74 urban centres and sixty million people across six countries who are members of the Committee.

The road he said, would encourage the integration of the region as well as open up limitless opportunities to the countries.

According to him, “It is very useful for every African to be aware of the existence of a trans-African highway plan which seeks to connect the whole of Africa right from Cape Town up to Tunisia, either by driving through the East African border, or the West African border or through the centre of Africa. There is a coast to coast connectivity from the West to the East of Africa to the Northeast of Africa to the Northwest of Africa, and the Southwest of Africa to East Africa.

“A total of nine Highways at different stages of connection are meant to achieve this connectivity and it is important for Nigerians to understand that three of these Highways pass through the territory of Nigeria out of those nine.

“The first is the Lagos-Dakar Highway, which passes through Seme border, and there to Dakar, Senegal. The second is the Lagos-Mumbasa, which links us through Yaounde in Cameroon. The third and the one about which we are gathered today is the Lagos-Algiers-Highway, which is the object of this meeting.

“That road covers over 9000km and 80 percent of that road is now asphalted. It is important to contextualize that in what we all read about as the trans-Saharan trade road. This was the road of Camels and Horses. So how much Africa has progressed now is that with the partnership of all of the men sitting here and all of the experts, 80 percent of the roads used to be traveled by the camels and horses are now motorable and I think that is progress.

“That is how big the impact is. That is what I want Nigerians to understand that we are part of a large urban network of opportunities. If you appreciate that the roads of horses and camels are now the road of vehicles and trucks , you can imagine the opportunities that lie ahead as we converge here”.

He added further that, “the entire 1, 131 km which passes through Nigeria is in different stages of development. We are expanding section from Lagos to Sagamu on the Lagos-Ibadan axis of this route and this is because it is the most busy section of the road. It carries averagely 4, 000 vehicles a day, out of which about 5, 000 are trucks. We are also working on the Abuja-Kano highway, which is another very busy section that carries a similar vehicular traffic and we are at different stages of progress along all these highways.

“With the recent signing by the President of the African continental free trade area, shows clearly that we are on the right track. We are now ready to harness the opportunities that our investment in this road offers. We are ready to integrate into the big African family of which we are being a major player. We are ready to integrate culturally as well. More importantly we are committed to ensuring we do so very safely for all of the people who use that road. The FEC just last week approved that Nigeria should ratify and domesticate the African Road Safety Charter which was adopted at the ordinary session African Union Commission in January 2016 in Addis Ababa. This means a commitment to more safety, more humanitarian issues, more life saving capacities, prevention of road traffic accidents on this highway”.

Director Highways Planning and Development, Mr Chukwunike Uzo, said the aim of the trans-Saharan road liaison committee, whose membership comprises the six countries, when it was formed in 1966 was to establish a road link across the six countries to encourage growth, socio economic activities, development, cooperation and trade.

“The entire stretch of the road is 9, 895km. In Algeria the length of the sub Saharan in 3, 320km, in Mali it is 2180km, in Niger it is 1985km, in Tunisia it is 699km, in Nigeria it is 1131km and in Chad it is 570km,” he broke down.

He said the highway links two major arterial roads in Nigeria which are A1 and A2.

“In Nigeria the road links two major arterial roads in the country. Our route A1 which starts from the port in Lagos to Ibadan to Ilorin, to Jeba, Mokwa, then at Mokwa it tees off to Kaduna and links the Kaduna-Kano road that terminates in Congoland. The A1 starts from Lagos and ends at Sokoto and the border at Ilela. For the A2 it starts from the port in Warri and goes through Benin-Auchi, up to Abuja, Kano to Congoland.

“Like I said it links two major arterial roads, A1 and A2 and these two routes form one of the core priories established by the Federal Government. We are upgrading sections of the road. For Lagos Ibadan for instance, we are expanding the section from Lagos to Sagamu to two lanes of three, that is six lanes, then Sagamu to Ibadan we are reconstructing the existing dual carriage way. So likewise other sections. These two routes, A1 and A2 carry the heaviest traffic volumes we have on our federal road network,” he said.

President Muhammadu Buhari who was represented by Minister of Police Affairs, Mohammed Dingyadi, said his administration’s mandate when he took over the mantle of leadership in 2015 was to introduce changes geared towards sustainable and quality infrastructural development to drive economic development and job creation.

“Our commitment is to increase Nigeria’s road infrastructure in order to ease the cost and time of doing business and improve our economic competitiveness as an envisaged under our economic recovery growth plan. In view of this our administration shares the aspiration of the trans Saharan road liaison committee aimed at encouraging member countries development the sections of trans Saharan roads within their respective territories,” Buhari said.

The President, described the road as a pride to the African continent, saying Nigeria has supported and would continue to support its existence.

“The Nigerian government has currently upgraded the section of the trans Saharan road within its borders. Special funding consideration has been committed to the reconstruction works of the sections of the tran Saharan roads from Lagos to Ibadan and Kaduna to Kano. Other sections of the route from Ibadan to Ilorin, Ilorin to Jeba, Jeba to Mokwa and Mokwa to Kaduna have either been dualized or rehabilitated to ensure more efficient flow of traffic especially for heavy goods vehicles that traverse this route which sustains the economy of activities that supports millions of Nigerians and our neighbours across our borders. It would continue to receive the desired attention so that it facilitates not only economic activities but also regional and continental integration”, he said.

Source: thenationonlineng

South Africa’s First Ever Blockchain-Based Property Register Pilot

  • The pilot study area consists of almost 1 000 properties located in four sites in Makhaza, Khayelitsha

The Centre for Affordable Housing Finance in Africa (CAHF), research consultancy 71point4 and Seso Global have partnered to develop South Africa’s first blockchain-based property register.

The pilot study area consists of almost 1 000 properties located in four sites in Makhaza, Khayelitsha. All the properties are Government subsidised properties that have not yet been registered on Deeds Registry.

According to the CEO of Seso Global, a blockchain property registry company, Daniel Bloch, this will be the first working example of a blockchain-based property registry in South Africa.

Aside from creating an immutable record of who owns which house, the Seso platform facilitates and records transactions such as sales and transfers out of deceased estates and integrates with third parties who facilitate transactions, including mortgage lenders.

“For the time being, property owners will record these transactions at the Transaction Support Centre, a walk-in housing advice office created by CAHF and 71point4 located in the area. But over time, we will record transactions through the Seso app” says Bloch.

The benefit of the blockchain solution is that it allows the data to be stored in a decentralised, secure database that can be updated without any loss of historic data.

This means there is a secure, back-to-back record of all transactions that is completely tamper-poof. Eventually the vision would be to integrate this record into the Deeds Registry when other impediments to transfer have been removed.

South Africa has a serious titling problem. According to Kecia Rust, the CEO of CAHF, the government has built over three million RDP houses since democracy. But CAHF’s analysis of deeds office data indicates that only 1.9 million of these properties have been registered.

The National Department of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation (NDHSWS) estimates that the title deed backlog for RDP properties built prior to 2014 currently stands at 511 752.

These properties were given to beneficiaries, but no title deeds were registered and handed over. At the same time, there is a backlog of 351 470 title deeds on newer properties.

Registering these properties so long after they were built and handed over to subsidy beneficiaries is an administratively complex task. In some cases, original subsidy beneficiaries are no longer living in the properties. Some beneficiaries might have passed away, some might have tenants in their properties while others have sold their houses informally.

“To create a register of property owners we first had to go door to door to find out who lives in each property and to establish how they came to be there” says Melzer, founder and lead consultant at 71point4. “We hired a team of 17 enumerators and trained them to collect information and capture supporting documents. Thankfully we can leverage smart phone to collect the data, but it still requires a significant effort. It took us two months to cover these areas.”

But the effort is well worth it. Properties in the area sell for over R200 000 informally – and would sell for more if they were listed on a trusted registry and were ‘bankable’.

This would enable buyers to obtain mortgage finance and create affordability. Without access to mortgages, buyers have to pay cash for a house, or use an expensive unsecured loan.

There are also significant benefits to the City of Cape Town of being able to access an accurate and up-to-date record of property ownership.

Without it, the City cannot collect revenue from households in the area who are not indigent nor can City departments facilitate building plan approvals.

Next steps

In many cases in the pilot areas, the original beneficiary is still living in the property. “We hope that these properties can be registered in the deeds registry within a few months, and we are working closely with the City of Cape Town to facilitate that” says Melzer.

“Where the beneficiary no longer lives in the property, we are in the process of tracing the beneficiary to confirm information we have gathered on who owns the property. We will also be working closely with the City on a resolution process where ownership is disputed.”

It will take some time before all the required information has been collected and validated. It will also take time for validated properties to be registered on the deeds registry.  In the meantime, we will enable property owners and occupants to keep those records up to date.

“We will also be using Seso’s platform to manage other client service requests that come to the Transaction Support Centre from all over Cape Town” says Rust. “These include helping clients to regularise informal sales and wind up deceased estates. Going forward, as the country moves towards an electronic deeds registry, we hope the lessons we have learned will provide valuable evidence to inform the development of accessible, secure, affordable and efficient mechanisms to facilitate property market transactions. This is important across the market, but particularly in entry level segments of the market where existing mechanisms are simply too costly”.

CAHF, Seso Global and 71point4 have a working agreement to extend this pilot into other areas and use cases.

There are hundreds of thousands of RDP properties around the country where no primary transfer has taken place. In addition, in many areas where title deeds were issued, property owners have transacted informally, which means there is no longer an accurate record of ownership at the deeds registry. Blockchain-based solutions can help there too.

Blockchain can also enable households who live in informal settlements and rural areas to record and maintain land records and secure their rights.

“We are very pleased with the pilot results. We think the solution we have developed is scalable, and replicable” says Bloch. That does not mean it is easy but, says Melzer “blockchain technology together the potential value we can unlock makes it worthwhile”.

Source: techeconomy

Nigeria to Connect East, South, North African Countries by Road, Says Fashola

Nigeria’s works and housing minister Babatunde Fashola on Monday said the ongoing road construction projects in the country are targetted at connecting East, West, North and South African countries by road.

Speaking at the 70th Session of the Trans Sahara Road Liaison Committee in Abuja, Fashola informed Member Country Ministers in charge of road infrastructure from Tunisia, Algeria, Mali, Chad and Niger of Nigeria’s efforts towards the establishment of the Trans Sahara Route.

“Trans African Highway Plan [seeks] to connect Africa from Cape Town to Tunisia either by driving through East Africa Border, the West African Border or through the Centre of Africa,” Fashola said.

“There is also a Coast to Coast connectivity from West to East Africa, North-East Africa to North-West Africa and South-West Africa to East Africa.”

The Nigerian minister explained that a total of 9 highways at different stages of construction are meant to achieve African connectivity.

“Three of these highways, he said to pass through the territory of Nigeria,” Fashola said.

Fashola listed Lagos – Dakar through Seme in the Benin Republic, Lagos – Mombasa through Yaoundè in Cameroon and Lagos – Algiers, which was the subject of the meeting in Abuja as the parts the Nigerian government is playing to contribute to the connectivity between African countries.

He disclosed that the Lagos – Algiers road covers 9,022km (7,171km 80%) in asphalt while 1,851km (20%) in earth road.

Fashola said the road serves 37 regions, 74 urban centres with 60 million inhabitants in 6 member countries of the Trans Sahara Road Liaison Committee.

The minister stated that 1,131km of the 9,022km passes through Lagos to Ibadan, Ilorin – Jebba, Kaduna – Kano – Kongolam where Nigeria has a border with the Niger Republic.

Explaining the importance of the connectivity, Fashola stated that “the development of the Trans Sahara Route is to ensure integration, improvement of economic activities and cooperation between Member Countries.

“This will provide the business community access to explore and maximise the enormous economic opportunities available within member countries. There are immense possibilities from Fashion, Agriculture, Technology, Energy to Film and Music.”

He said the Trans Sahara Route and the recent signing of the African Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA) Treaty is a top priority in President Muhammadu Buhari’s plan to integrate and expand Nigeria’s economy.

Fashola said Buhari had placed the funding of the reconstruction of the Lagos – Ibadan Section and the Kaduna – Kano Section under the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF) to ensure that there is no funding gap in the execution of the project.

Source: guardianng

The Benefits of 2020 budget For Housing Professionals

With expected Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) in the real estate sector put at 13.65 per cent from 2019 to 2022, experts have advised housing professionals to take advantage of the 2020 budget to reduce housing deficit in the country.

Out of the N2.14 trillion proposed capital expenditure for 2020 budget, works and housing has the highest capital allocation of 12 per cent. While construction and rehabilitation of roads would consume a budget size of N210billion, the federal government national housing and social housing scheme (Family homes fund) will gulp an estimated N17.5 billion and N30 billion respectively.

Despite the challenges of poor access to loan facilities, difficulty in obtaining property titles and high cost of building houses in Nigeria, analysts who spoke to The Guardian, explained that Nigeria will continue to have strong fundamentals in the real estate industry. They urged professionals, especially estate surveyors and valuers to take advantage of the opportunities.

Speaking at the summit, themed “Exploring the present realities for the future” organised by the Lagos State branch of the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV), a director at Price Water Copper, Bola Adigun disclosed that Nigerian growing middle class, which out-numbers that of any other state in the sub Sahara Africa, the overall population estimated at about 200 million and its seven cities with a population of over one million people presents several possible markets for investors.

She explained, “The growth of real estate is dependent on the health of the economy and if the economy does well, the industry would do well. The private sector should look at ways by which they could partner with government to ensure that the nation has a sector that is profitable, bankable and working. There are multiple areas by which the real estate operator could benefit from the budget.

“However the major thing is to first understand the market with statistics, saying there are housing deficits of 17 million units. We need to first examine the various strata in the range of upper class, upper middle class, lower middle class and lower class, classify the clientele very well and develop bespoke products to address the needs of specific sectors and customer characteristics. Then, look for how to get government supports through PPP structures to address the housing deficits.”

Adigun was of the view that in real estate, off-take is critical, hence developers need to design products that the market needs and build in relation to their budget. “Professionals could explore emerging finance structures in Nigeria like, pre-sales, equity financing, debt financing, mezzanine structure and public private partnerships. Professionals can’t just build in isolation, they need to build to meet the needs of the people and keep off the market from been idle and from unoccupied properties”, she warned.

Chairman NIESV Lagos State branch, Adedotun Bamigbola harped on the need to provide leadership in the industry, promote specialisation in real estate practice and ensure that practitioners work together for standard and for business better environment.

“A lot of issues has come out which we are also looking at advising the state government in this respect to ensure that there could better collaboration between the professionals in the industry and ensuring a roadmap for improve development in the industry.

“The issue of the housing deficit is something that needs to be critically dealt with and the approach need to be defined. The issue of funding of real estate sector through syndication finance which is out of the conventional loan design is Important because it brings equity and s capital into a project for development.

“N60 billion allocation for the housing sector is not only about the opportunities it offers the housing professionals but the impact that it would have on the existing housing deficit which experts said would make little or no impacts.”

He stated that Nigerian still have a long way to go, if the nation is to recover from the 22million housing units deficits stressing that public private partnership (PPP) is the way forward but maintained that the critical challenge is accessibility of land in terms of how people get title to lands.

Housing Development

“The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola has proposed recently, a N10 trillion infrastructure bond and the narrative is that if the bond is not engineered by 2020, the following year, the nation might need a N15 trillion infrastructure bond. This means that we are just playing a catch up here and the earlier we get our games right and start moving fast, the better.

“ Government needs to understand that they are not issuing contracts when it comes to PPP, it more of a joint venture and so authorities must give the respect to the fact that some people are bringing in fund and there is a legal angle to where the funds are coming from”, he said.

Bamigbola said: “Nigeria has to rejig its system and existing laws and there has to be a value reorientation in terms of government recognizing the private sector and it shouldn’t be a master-servant issue but a partnership that guarantees project start that get to the finish line and not the type that stops mid-way.”

Source: Guardiang Excluding Headline

Property Owners Take Issue of High Land Use Charges to Lagos Appeal Court

Despite the reprieve promised by the Lagos government to property owners, professional groups and the organised private sector after protests that trailed the land use charge law last year, many residents are yet to enjoy the reductions in the rates.

Investigations by The Guardian last week show that property owners within the state still have to battle with high charges on their properties even as many of them had to approach the assessment appeal tribunal to seek redress from what they called, ‘outrageous financial burden’.

The Lagos state land use charge is a property tax backed by the Land Use Charge (LUC) law of 2018. It is a consolidation of ground rent, tenement rate, and neighborhood improvement levy. The Law backing LUC was first enacted in 2001 but was repealed and re-enacted to address some identified challenges after its introduction in 2018. The new law then imposed an increased tax on property owners in the state, which was vehemently opposed by the critical stakeholders.

According to authorities, some of the major challenges that warranted its review include, the lack of clarity on the LUC formula to support self-assessment, obsolete rates that had not been reviewed in over a decade and the need to improve LUC administration and efficiency. The amended Law also provides a robust legal and regulatory framework to support LUC administration reforms aimed at growing the state’s economy.

After so many pressures arising from the people, government reviewed the increase on the land fee stating that payment can be done in installment and that such would relieve house owners the burden of paying the amount once. In addition, the state government announced a 50 percent discount for commercial property owners while private property owners and those assets use for industrial activities were given 25 percent increase.

According to government statement, “Commercial Property Owner, who are undoubtedly the stakeholders mostly impacted by this amended Law will be granted 50 percent discount. This means a commercial property valued at N20 million, which was earlier, billed N91, 200.00 will now pay N45, 600.00 per annum. Property Occupied by Owner and Third Party and Property Used for Industrial and Manufacturing Purposes: These categories of property will enjoy 25 percent discount. This means that a N20Million property expected to pay N30, 720 will now pay N23, 040 per year.

Property occupied by owners was given 15per cent discount off the reviewed land use fee. This category of property will enjoy 15 percent discount. For a N20 million property, this used to be N9, 120 now; it is N7, 752 per annum. The state government added that other rates and reliefs remain unchanged & will be implemented as stipulated by Law. These include 40 percent general relief, 10 per cent for 70 years and above, 105 for properties owned by persons living with disability and 10 percent for properties that are 25yrs.”

The government also revealed that penalty for late payment has been waived and those who have paid the fee allocated to them would enjoy tax credits.  The LUC is payable in respect of all real estate property situated in Lagos State.

A visit to the Jobi Fele Way building in Alausa, Ikeja that hosted the tribunal revealed that some of the those who had to approach the tribunal on complaints bordering on high charges placed on their properties were from, Ajeromi-Ifelodu, Ikeja, Oshodi-Isolo, Lagos Mainland, Lagos Island, Agege, Surulere, Ifako-Ijaiye and other part of the state.

A property agent Mr. Sunday Ajaiye told The Guardian that he was in the facility to expressed concerns over a N500, 000 charge imposed on a commercial building owned by his company. According, there was a huge discrepancy between what they used to pay and the charges brought recently.

“I was worried by the LUC charge brought to our office lately because before now we pay about N300, 000 but the new bill brought was about N500, 000. So I have to come here with our colleague to seek a redress of the situation.”

“Our complaint centred on the fact that officials of the land use charge need to get their valuation procedure right because it’s unfair to just award charges that doesn’t commensurate to the worth of property that people has in their sites. They should be more diligent to avoid unnecessary complaints by property owners, agents and others”, he stated.

Ajaiye who also manages a two-storey building used for religious purpose lamented the outrageous amount being charged on the property. He disclosed that before they used to pay about N40, 000 but in the charge brought by the officials, the building was awarded about N100, 000.00. He appealed to the tribunal to carry out a downward review of the charge.

Speaking on his experience on the Land use charge/ tribunal, Mr. Abubakar Kadiri from Lagos Island said, “The delays, which we face here, is a waste of useful man-hour. Only two-stand point were put in place to attend to complaints and so a person has to wait endlessly before he would be attended to. I think those in charge have to get enough hands for quick discharge of complaints. As you could see, the place is jam-packed and crowded.”

With the harsh economic realities and the high land charge fees, Kadiri said the new Land Use Charge Law should have focused on the issue of avoidance in payment rather than a hike, in order to ensure more property owners pay.

Sources disclosed that the state’s land use charge are only by paid about 300,000 properties out of an estimated two million eligible properties in Lagos State as at 2017.

On her part, Mrs. Yetunde Salami from Surulere said, “Those in charge overdo things, the charges are too high and they need to understand what is happening in town economically, there is no money. If the authorities keep bringing high charges to the people, the rate of avoidance in payment could be very high. For instance, the charges that was awarded to us was extremely high. I doubt, if government would achieve its revenue target with this development.  Government revenue drive would have been achieved if the old rates were maintained for all properties in the state.”

While commending government’s initiative for setting up the land use charge resolution week, Mr. Jude Okafor from Oshodi-Isolo however urged authorities to address issue of overvaluation and exemption for some properties owners in the state.

According to him, there was the need to decentralize the location of the tribunal for respective property owners instead of everybody coming down to Ikeja to make their complains known.

“Somebody that builds house while he was active in service and was paying between N200, 000 and N500, 000, now that he is retired, no income again. How can he continue to pay that same amount?” he stated.

Source: Guardianng Excluding Headline

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