FG to charge triple ground rent on unoccupied houses nationwide
Mr Dangiwa affirmed that the issue of completed unoccupied properties was prevalent in the FCT and some states.
NEWS AGENCY OF NIGERIA
The federal government says it will start charging owners of completed unoccupied houses triple ground rents instead of the single rate normally charged from three months after completion.
The Minister of Housing and Urban Development, Ahmed Dangiwa, said this in an interview with journalists during site visits of housing projects constructed by the government and its agencies on Friday in Abuja.
The Suleja (Dikko) Prototype, Public-Private Partnerships Cooperative, Gwagwalada National Housing Programme and Guzape Federal Housing Authority (FHA) are also under the PPP arrangement.
Mr Dangiwa affirmed that the issue of completed unoccupied properties was prevalent in the FCT and some states while many citizens needed accommodation.
“What is important now is that we want to take stock of all those houses, then we will interface with the owners and find out what they want,” said Mr Dangiwa.
“If they want to keep the houses unoccupied, the government will start charging them triple ground rent instead of a single ground rent that we charge,” he added.
The minister said the development would force owners to rent or sell the houses. He emphasised that the country could not have housing deficits when buildings were unoccupied.
“We have charged the department of lands, urban and regional planning in our ministry to take stock of those estates to give the names of the proprietors or the owners of those estates.
“Any estate that stays more than three months unoccupied, then we will start charging them triple ground rent. This is what we intend to do,” the minister said.
On supervising projects across the country, the minister said all state controllers would be empowered and given the proper tools and equipment to carry out their functions effectively.
On his assessment of all the sites visited, the minister said he was impressed by what he had seen, adding that each location had peculiarities and issues.
The minister commented on the issue of BUA Cement, which announced a reduction in the price of its product, but the survey showed that the cost had yet to be reduced. He lauded the company for reducing the burden on citizens.
“They have reduced the prices of their cement, but most of the people who sell at higher prices are claiming that they bought it at higher prices.
“We are now trying to reach out to BUA to let them mark the new ones they are producing now with a different brand so that we know that this brand is the one that BUA produced at a cheaper price,” he said.
The Apo-Guzape housing project started in 2011 on 100 hectares of land with three project models: direct construction financed by FHA and a public-private partnership with 764 houses completed.
Others are the prototype housing scheme, Suleja, comprising 232 units with 185 completed and the National Housing Project, Gwagwalada, 216 units, and the Federal Integrated Housing Scheme in Gwagwalada, 100 housing units.