…PREVIOUSLY ISSUED DOCUMENTS TO BE RECERTIFIED, NEW BUSES, TAXIS TO BE LAUNCHED NEXT MONTH
FCT Minister, Barrister Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has said that the issuance of Certificates of Occupancy in the Federal Capital Territory will now cost N3.5 million, which is a reduction from the previously proposed cost of N5 million.
This was disclosed during the Minister’s second monthly Ministerial media parley which was held on Friday, November 24, 2023, in his office.
Speaking on a wide range of issues, Barrister Wike said that the decision to reduce the cost of C of O was based on the recommendations of the Task Force set up on the issuance of C of Os, in mass housing estates and recovery of land use contravention fees.
It may be recalled that the Taskforce had proposed the payment of the sum of N5 million which was largely objected to by stakeholders, prompting the organisation of an interface between estate developers as well as residents’ associations.
The Minister, during that meeting, had hinted at the possibility of a downward review of the cost of issuance of the land document.
According to the Director of Press (Office of the Minister), Anthony Ogunleye, in a statement, the Minister equally stated that new security features such as the National Identification Number (NIN) and the Bank Verification Number (BVN) for individuals and corporate organisations respectively will be incorporated in the new Certificates.
Barrister Wike equally disclosed that payment of the N3.5 million will not apply for recertification, but will be applicable only for new issuances.
His words “Those who have C of O don’t need to pay this money. The highest you can pay is maybe N50,000 and corporate bodies, maybe N100,000 because you already have C of O. All you are doing is to recertify in order to incorporate these new features.”
Speaking on the efforts to improve revenue generation in the FCT, the FCT Minister also reiterated that the FCT Administration will enforce the payment of property tax and ground rent, warning that those who fail to pay will have their allocations revoked. He stressed that to shore up IGR, payment of ground rent has to be enforced.
“Over the years, nobody has been able to enforce the payment of ground rent. I came on board and I said okay, it can’t be business as usual. You have property, you are given a C of O to back up your property. In that C of O, you are told to be paying annual ground rent. For the past 15 years, you didn’t pay. Some people, for the past 20 years, they never paid.
“And you know Nigerians, they said nothing will happen. I came and said something would happen and they have to pay. Seeing that we mean what we have said, if you don’t pay, we will revoke and we have been doing that, people are now queuing up to pay. Go to AGIS, people are queuing up and that has now increased our IGR.”
He said IGR in the FCT has increased from a monthly collection of N14 billion to over N20 billion.
To ensure that capital projects get priority attention, the Minister revealed that adjustments would be made to the FCT budgeting process, with 70 percent of the budget dedicated to capital projects, while the other 30 percent will be utilized for overhead expenditure.
Speaking on critical ongoing projects in the FCT, including the Abuja mass rail transit scheme, the Minister assured that they would be completed before May 2024 to coincide with the celebration of the one-year anniversary of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s administration.
He added that provisions have also been made for funding the projects in the FCT 2023 supplementary budget, adding that the contractors executing the projects have given assurances that the projects will be completed within schedule.
The Minister equally revealed that the FCT would be launching its mass transportation buses and taxis next month to ply the routes of Maitama, Asokoro, Wuse, and Garki, following which tricycles, popularly called Kepe Napep, operation in the city centre would be phased out by January 2024.
The Minister added that the FCTA would also be spending about N600 million to repair the mass transit buses in its fleet which would also be deployed in various routes to ease the transportation.
“We are launching vehicles for mass transit in December. Again, it’s part of the supplementary budget we submitted for Mr. President to transmit to the National Assembly. The fund is there. We are anticipating that the National Assembly will pass it. We have started the procurement process so that as it comes, we will not be delayed.
“We have the money in our account. All we are seeking is approval by the National Assembly for us to be able to spend”.
While lamenting the increasing wage bill of the FCT Administration, Barrister Wike, promised to carry out a forensic audit exercise of staff to determine the actual staff strength of the FCTA.