Experts in the building and construction sector have called on the Federal Government to review the Land Use Act of 1978 and send a Bill to the National Assembly for its repeal.
Some participants who spoke to NAN in Abuja attributed the deficit in the housing sector to the Land Use Act.
The spoke on the sidelines of the 4th Building and Construction Economic Roundtable organised by the Quantity Surveyors Registration Board of Nigeria.
Mr Gimba Ya’u Kumo of the Federal Mortgage Bank said that the Land Use Act had become an obstacle to the availability of land for housing.
“Government must recognise the failure of the Land Use Act of 1978 and send a Bill to the National Assembly for its repeal.
“All administrative processes giving rise to additional costs and hindering the growth of the real sector must be dismantled.
“For instance, the cost of obtaining title documents must be annulled and the registration processing fee reduced and fee paid on transfer of title documents minimised for mass housing.
“Should the land use Act not be repealed, the processing time for title registration and Governor’s consent should be reduced to three working weeks.
“Government should abolish certain statutory documentary requirements for processing of title transfer such as tax clearance, development levy, tenement rates among others.”
Ya’u kumo further advocated that processing offices should be manned by competent and qualified personnel who should be well remunerated.
He further argued that the slow speed and high cost of property registration, taxes, stamp duties and fees, which were generally quite high in Nigeria, could significantly increase the cost of the houses.
Also commenting, Mr Olabode Afolayan, the National President/Chairman, Council Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria (REDAN), said that land was finite, adding that every community was conscious of its land resources.
Afolayan said accessibility to land, lack of long term funds for mortgage, enabling legal and foreclosure laws were part of the challenges being faced in the provision of housing.
He noted that land tenure in Nigeria was governed by the Land Use Act of 1978 under which land in all states of federation was vested in the governor.
He observed that access to land was by way of ‘right of occupancy’ granted by the government.
“ It is observed that state governments, who are custodians of the resources as per the Land Use Act, most times are not willing to allocate land directly to estate developers.
“ Most often, land is not allocated to those who need it for genuine development but to those who have access to those allocating the lands.
“The middlemen and speculators, and those close to people at the corridors of power most often have more opportunity to land allocation.
“ The phenomenon of acquiring land through a third party (middlemen) makes the cost to be high and the cost is most often transferred to the end-users.” he said.
Afolayan said that developers were faced with high statutory payment for titles, cost of land transfers, seeking for development permits.
He added that other exorbitant, ancillary charges contributed to making the cost of housing development high and hindered the delivery of affordable housing to Nigerians.
In his remark, Mr Chuck Arinmah, a participant and Consulting Quantity Surveyor, identified housing and infrastructural development of a nation as critical factors in economic planning.
Arinmah said the sustainability of the economic growth of any nation must keep pace with the provision of housing and other infrastructure.