As part efforts to mitigate the rising housing deficit across the country, Federal Government, at the weekend, announced its plans to charge triple ground rent on any house that is unoccupied for three months.
This is against the current charge of single ground rent it charges for occupied houses.
Irked by the number of unoccupied houses in the country, especially in Abuja, the Minister of Housing and Urban Development, Architect Ahmed Musa Dangiwa, while addressing newsmen at the end of his visit to housing projects in Suleija in Niger State, Gwagwalada and Guzape in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), said that the charges will force the owners of such unoccupied houses to rent them out.
Already, he said, the government has begun to take stock of those estates that are not occupied with a view to inviting the owners and charging them to rent the houses or sell them.
“There are lots of abandoned estates, especially in Abuja and the vicinity. I think, in some other states, we do have a few of them. We want to take stock of all those abandoned houses. Then, we interface with the owners of the abandoned houses. We ask them what do you want? Do you want to keep these houses? If you want to keep them unoccupied the government will charge you triple ground rent instead of the single ground rent that we charge. That will force them to put it on rent for whatever amount or sell them off because you can’t keep saying that we have housing deficit when we have a lot of empty houses that are being completed and left unoccupied. So, we have told the department of lands and urban and regional planning in our ministry to take stock of those estates and give us the names of the proprietors so that the owners of those estates will be informed of our plans. Any estate that stayed more than three months unoccupied we’ll start charging them triple ground rent. That’s what we intend to do” he said.
The Minister used the occasion to commend BUA for reducing the price of its cement, calling on other cement producers to follow suit and reduce the price of their products.
He blamed the middle men for selling at high cost even when BUA sells to them at reduced prices.
So, to ensure that the middle men comply, the government advised BUA to brand the reduced products.
“It shows that the profit they (middlemen) are getting is exorbitant. This is what we can do to ensure that Nigerians get better prices for what they buy.
“We have to commend BUA Cement Company for the fact that they have come to assist the common man. They have reduced the prices of their cement but most of the people who sell at higher prices than BUA claim that they bought it at higher prices and they have to make sure they exhaust that amount. So, we are now trying to reach out to BUA to mark the new ones they are producing now with a different brand so that we know that this brand is the brand BUA produced at a cheaper price so that anybody that sees that kind of cement will know that it’s supposed to be bought at a cheaper price. We have to commend BUA and we are calling on other cement producers to key into that and see that they bring a relief to the common man of the country” he said.
Source: Sun Newspaper