The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola has challenged estate surveyors to embark on open evaluation of realty for different States and reduce the hitches associated with the profession for the benefit of Nigerians.
Fashola who stated this during the inauguration of the reconstituted Estate Surveyors and Valuers Registration Board of Nigeria (ESVARBON) urged the professional body to reconcile the disparity between the country’s land evaluation system and current economic realities.
According to him, “The most important lessons that I like to share at this inauguration is to ask whether the current land evaluation system and values are consistent with the realities of our economy”.
He regretted that despite the challenging economy that landlords and estate surveyors have failed to reduce rental fees, which he linked to the growing number of unoccupied houses irrespective of high demand for housing.
The Minister, who observed that property owners had often argued that properties were valued higher so as to increase the percentages and commissions, charged the board on the need to regulate the practice of estate surveying.
Emphasizing the importance of Estate Surveyors and Valuers in the economic growth of the country, Fashola noted that the professional’s turn land from a dormant asset into a valuable asset.
“Those involved in one form of enterprise or the other must first of all appreciate the value of land as a major capital formation asset; whether it is for small businesses, large corporations, markets or motor parks because people cannot startup any business without using the land”.
He pointed out that some members of ESVARBON were engaged by the ministry as valuers for the Second Niger Bridge project saying that others have also been recruited for the development of the Mambila Hydro Power Dam and the new Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) where the Ministry had to acquire Right-of-Way for its transmission lines.
While charging the board to ensure greater transparency in the built Industry, Fashola stated that one of the areas where Nigeria’s Ease of Doing Business ranking could improve is in real estate valuation especially with developing harmonised code of charges.
“We had this problem back at state level where we found out that we were charging about 10 per cent on fees and taxes while other neighbouring countries were charging between one and two per cent”.
He reiterated the need to develop very open and nationwide valuation for real estate in different states, which he said could provide an insight into the exact worth of a property in any state.
“If it is developed, we can know the minimum rate of undeveloped property per square metre in Jabi, Lugbe or other places and what the maximum rate should be if it is not developed but at least, there will be a database which I don’t think imperils your ability to continue to render professional service”.
In his remarks, Chairman of the board, Mr. Olayinka Sonaike, thanked the federal government for the opportunity and privilege extended to the members to serve on the board adding that they were in a better position to contribute to the economic growth of the country.
He requested that budgetary allocation should be immediately released to the board after the signing of the 2017 Appropriation Bill, pledging to collaborate with the ministry for the overall development of the sector.
Sonaike disclosed that Institute of Estate Surveyors and Valuers of Nigeria (NIESV) had already completed a database of properties in Lagos State with the intention to extend same to other states of the federation, promising that the board would continue to work toward reconciling the disparity between land evaluation system and economic realities.