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Senate mulls recovery of N6trn ground rent from property owners 

The Senate Wednesday set machinery in motion for recovery of N6 trillion unpaid ground rent from property owners across the country.

It consequently set up an adhoc committee to investigate and recover the over N6trn accrued from non-payment of ground rate from defaulting property owners.

Resolution of the red chamber to this effect, was sequel to  a motion by Senator Yusuf Abubakar Yusuf  (APC, Taraba Central).

Senator Yusuf who rose through orders 41 and 51 of the senate standing rules to move the motion said the land use Act vested ownership of land to federal government which include the power to control and regulate town planning, and physical development in relation to such lands and by extension prescribing and collection of any tax, fees or rates.

He lamented that since 1992, over two million houses across the 36 states of the federation, including FCT, have been built and allocated to beneficiaries by the federal government, yet many have no evidence of payment of ground rent on their properties.

He noted that with the current revenue challenges facing the country, there is a need for the government to look into other means of generating income than relying on oil revenue.

He further stated that investigation reveals that, the failure of relevant authorities to recover these funds has led the country to loosing over six trillion naira 

In his contribution, Senator Sam Egwu (PDP Ebonyi North), pointed out that the ministry of works and housing saddled with the responsible of overseeing the housing sector  is overburdened, with the merger of two ministries of works and housing 

According to him, the works ministry consumes about 70 percent of the total allocation while housing takes only 30% and as such the ministry of housing is not given the required attention.

Other lawmakers took turns calling on the federal government to come up with a computerized system where all allotted lands and properties, persons yet to pay and  fashion out mode of recovering the funds.

Accordingly, the Senate adopted prayers of the motion by constituting an adhoc committee to investigate the inability of the federal ministry of works and housing to investigate and recover the N6 trillion unpaid ground rent.

The committee is to also investigate the circumstances that led to the inability of the land use act allocation committee, saddled with the responsibility of handling rent and licence matters. 

All activities of the presidential implementation committee for the sales of government property, are also to be investigated by the committee.

Ground rent is a tax charged and collected by government on lands developed or undeveloped.



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