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Why FCT is littered with abandoned houses — NIESV president

The new President of the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers NIESV, Bolarinwa Patunola-Ajayi has said that the Federal Capital Territory FCT, is littered with unoccupied buildings, because majority of them are proceeds of corruption, calling on the federal government to be serious in introducing property tax to address housing problem in the country. File: Abandoned building The NIESV boss has equally called on government at all levels to invest more in social housing with a view to reducing the country’s housing deficit while providing accommodation for low-income earners.

Patunola-Ajayi, who stated this while addressing property correspondents during the maiden meeting of his council members in Abuja, said Abuja and its environs had enough buildings/houses that could accommodate its population without them running to nearby states to live. However, he noted that thousands of the houses were not occupied due to high cost of rents placed on them by their owners or agents, forcing Abuja workers to seek settlement in the nearby states like Niger and Nasarawa states.

He maintained that those buildings were largely proceeds of corruption by powerful people in the society, which they used as a means to tie-down their ill-gotten wealth. According to him, they do not care what happens to those buildings because it is not their hard-earned money, urging the government to impose heavy tax on them to crash high cost of house rent in the FCT. He said those buildings should be valued by professional valuers and an appropriate tax be placed on them, adding that the hardship Nigerians are passing through to get accommodation is enough and must be seriously addressed by the government.

Patunola-Ajayi noted that other government’s initiatives to address housing deficit in the country should include social and investment housing programme for low-income earners in the country. He further said that the federal government should look at the housing as a complete programme beyond intervention of the private sector to solve the problem, adding that they had already put forward a proposal to the government to that effect. “The government must be involved in two key areas: social and investment housing that will incorporate everyone.

The Nigerian government should take a cue from Singapore; there should be a scheme to produce flats on a continuous basis yearly,” he said. Speaking on the focus of his administration, NIESV boss vowed to rid the profession of quacks and intensify disciplinary procedures to checkmate fraudulent practices among members. “We must all know that there are quacks in every profession, so estate surveying and valuation is not an exception. But we will leave no stone un-turned to rid the profession of quackery, especially in the estate agency area to restore peoples’ lost confidence thereby boosting general perception about estate management practice in the country,” NIESV Boss vowed.

He disclosed that the current membership strength of about 5000 was far too low to meet the real estate and property needs of over 170 million Nigerians, promising to focus on increasing this figure significantly without compromising standard. “How effective can 5000 professional meet the services demand of 170million? It shows that the nation is critically in need of professional estate surveyors and valuers. How many government properties have estate managers? We have only a few. This shows why many of our private and government-owned properties are poorly managed. So to serve everyone better, including the government, we need to increase our membership strength,” he said.
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