Nigeria’s biggest housing advocacy group – Housing Development Advocacy Network (HDAN) has expressed concern over the recent World Bank ease of doing business ranking which sees Nigeria rank poorly in the ease of registering a property.
The group calls on the government, members of the national assembly, state governors and other public stakeholders to look into this issue of property and title registration which contributes to the poor performance of the country’s housing, mortgage and construction sectors.
Reacting in Abuja, the group’s President, Festus Adebayo, stated that the issue has been one of their areas of concern in the country’s housing sector. He said the report confirms their fears about the ease of doing business in the housing sector – a factor which has worsened the country’s housing deficit currently at about 17 million.
If the bureaucratic bottlenecks associated with property and title registrations are reduced, Adebayo believes that it will significantly attract more investors and establish a process that will create mass affordable housing for Nigerians who needs them most.
The group recommends a strategic intervention by all public stakeholders in creating a one stop channel for all registration which will be equally backed by modern technology and transparency.
Placed in 183, Nigeria ranks below its African peers like Ghana and South Africa. With the current ranking by the Washington-based lender, the most populous nation in Africa, which is faced with a housing deficit of more than 17 million units, was only better than 7 countries from the 190 that were surveyed.
It takes 33 days to get a property registered in Ghana. If that is to be done in South Africa, it will take 10 days less, meaning that one can obtain a property document at the end of 23 days in South Africa.
However, the case is not the same in Nigeria as the World Bank data stated it takes three months and two days to get the same property documentation.
“Nigeria (Kano) made property registration less transparent by no longer publishing online the fee schedule and the list of documents necessary to register a property,” the report said.
Despite current efforts to improve ease of doing business in Nigeria, the World Bank report revealed that Nigeria still requires 12 different procedures to obtain the document for a real estate development. In Ghana, that involves only 5 procedures.
Further analysis of the World Bank data revealed that while it takes 111 days to get a construction permit in Nigeria, the same papers can be obtained in 155 and 170 days in South Africa and Ghana respectively.
But the document is more expensive in Nigeria than the combined cost in Ghana and South Africa. It cost 27.5 percent of the warehouse value to acquire a construction permit whereas in Ghana and South Africa it each costs 4.6 percent and 2 percent respectively.
“Nigeria (Lagos) made dealing with construction permits less costly by eliminating the Infrastructure Development Charge (IDC, the fee for construction permits) for warehouses,” the World Bank said.