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.
He called on the federal government to be serious in introducing property tax to address housing problem in the country. Patunola-Ajayi made the remark during the maiden meeting of his council members in Abuja.
He 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 many 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 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 initiatives to address housing deficit in the country should include social and investment housing programme for low-income earners in the country.
“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.