The federal government has declared its intention to charge triple ground rent on any completed building or estate that has been unoccupied for over three months.
The minister of housing and urban development, Architect Ahmed Musa Dangiwa, made this known while addressing the press in Abuja, after inspecting housing projects in Gwagwalada, Guzape and Suleija, an area of Niger State.
He revealed that one of the federal government’s efforts to mitigate the housing deficit in the country is to ensure that empty houses within the FCT and other states are deployed to use. Dangiwa further added that he has instructed the Department of Lands, urban and regional planning of his ministry to take stock of unoccupied estates and bring the names of their proprietors for the ministry to know their demands as well as enquire if they still want to keep the houses, sell them or risk paying triple ground rent on 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 they 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, he said.
While also using the occasion to commend BUA for reducing the price of cement from its initial N5000 to N3500, the minister also called on other cement producers to take the same step. He warned whole-sellers who dubiously sell the BUA products beyond the official price to stop giving the impression that they are selling the old stock and revealed that the government has advised BUA to brand the reduced products in order to track the exploiters.