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Lagos land transactions down by 30 per cent

This is not the best of times for Lagos government as the nation’s economic recession has impacted negatively on the State’s Lands Bureau by slowing down land transactions to a record low of 30 per cent.

Last year, the state authorities slashed various rates applicable to land transactions from 13 per cent to three per cent. For instance, consent fees was reduced from six per cent to 1.5 per cent while capital gains tax, previously two per cent , was reduced to 0.5 per cent.

The Permanent Secretary, Lagos state Lands Bureau, Bode Agoro, told media personnel that despite the cut in rates, there has been decline in governor’s consent, which used to be the highest revenue generating arm of the bureau.

According to him, people are not really transacting so much as result of recession, leading to considerable low rate of revenue.He stressed that the bureau has embarked on series of changes to speed up the process of getting governor’s consent in order to attract more people and arrest the decline.

The Permanent Secretary also said the Bureau has fortified the land registry by creating a quality control unit to block all noticeable leakages in the past.

According to him, “it is better to encounter a little bit of delay so as not to register a fake Certificate of Occupancy (CofOs).”Other moves introduced by the bureau to make it more responsive to the public, he said, was to embark on a zero tolerance fon staff inducement   and re-orientation of workers on how to communicate with customers.

He also stressed that the Bureau has secured approval from the governor for an integrated land administrative system, which will make members of the public to submit their applications online from the comfort of their home to be processed by the Bureau.

The system, he said, will kick-off at the end of the year as the contract has just be awarded for that.Under this system, land will be made a secondary market for mortgages so that the Bureau will be in a position to guarantee titles issued.

He stressed that the bureau is committed to the project by creating enabling environment where the land registry should be secured in order to vet and scrutinize all applications.

According to him, the process will involve the scanning of all the documents and when completed insurance companies will pay buyers the cost of that transactions just as it is done in market of shares. On the issue of land allocations, he said, the government is presently processing backlogs of allocations done by the past government as over 5, 000 C of Os have been issued by Governor Akinwunmi Ambode.

He said that the  bureau has adopted an electronic system to take care of double allocations as well as shortening by the process to get optimum  productivity.

Originally published in The Guardian

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