The Minister of the Federal Capital Territory Abuja, Malam Muhammad Bello, has said that he would initiate a bill to crash high rate of house rent in the city.
Muhammad stated this when he received members of the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV) in his office on Wednesday, April 6, 2016.
The minister, who charged the Estate valuers to find a viable solution to address the high cost of accommodation in Abuja, also challenged the body to reduce their professional fee.
The minister said his administration may soon come up with a law that would force downward, cost of accommodation in the nation’s capital.
He remarked that although the concept of Estate Development is a very laudable one, the industry is facing many challenges in the territory, questioning the rationale behind payment of rent on annual basis in the country.
Muhammad emphasised that as a professional body that is primarily concerned with provision of houses, the NIESV has a responsibility to ensure that accommodation does not get out of the reach of the common man.
A statement signed by Muhammad Sule Hazat, a Chief Press Secretary, the minister explained during the meeting that the present administration under the leadership of President Muhammed Buhari, is deeply concerned with the high cost of accommodation in the territory and is working on measures that would guarantee access to decent accommodation by the masses and less privileged.
“As a body, you must take deliberate steps to bring down the cost of accommodation through reduction of your charges and commissions. I know that you charge between 10-15% but I think that rate needs to come down or else at some point in the future, legislation will force you to bring it down," he said.
The minister wondered why in developed countries such as United Kingdom and United states tenants pay rents on a monthly basis while here in Nigeria the reverse is the case.
“Why should we pay rent annually in Nigeria; why should we pay two, three years in advance. All the people you see here including the Minister get their rent allowance on a monthly basis, only very few organisations in Nigeria pay rent allowance annually in bulk. Why can’t we start asking our tenants to pay rent monthly even if they are in Asokoro, Maitama or wherever”, Bello said.
He said as part of efforts to bring down housing rates in Abuja the FCT Administration has put the necessary machinery in motion to ensure that all plots of land not developed within a stipulated period would be revoked and re-allocated to willing developers, adding that the number of uncompleted buildings and empty estate houses in the city is very alarming and a committee would soon be set up to look into the issue.
Bello who thanked the NIESV for his investiture as the Patron of the professional body, promises to look into all the issues raised by the President and Chairman of the FCT chapter on the need to enhance the existing working relationship between the FCT administration and NIESV.
Speaking earlier, the Chairman of the FCT chapter of NIESV Mr. Emmanuel Alao urged the Minister to constitute the Land Use Allocation committee in line with the provisions of the Land Use Act in order to check abuses in the land allocation process.
He, however, appealed to the minister to ensure that at least two Estate Surveyors are included in the committee, stressing that the NIESV remains a willing partner in moving the Federal Capital Territory forward.