Delta to boost IGR through improved land administration
As part of efforts to boost internally generated revenue in the face of dwindling returns from oil, the Delta State government has begun reforming its land administration through harnessing and enforcing the payment of all levies and charges.
Already, the Ministry of Lands, Survey and Urban Development is embarking on the gathering of data on all buildings in the major towns and urban centres in the state while the data base will be computerised to remove the human element in the process of assessment for payment of taxes and levies.
Improving the process of issuing rights of occupancy to remove bureaucratic hurdles and reduce the time taken is high on the agenda as Chief Dan Okenyi, Commissioner for Lands and Survey, noted that many houses in urban centres are yet to be issued with certificates of occupancy.
Speaking in Sapele while inaugurating a committee to identify and recover undeveloped plots of land in the town and its axis, Okenyi said a consultant has been contracted to streamline the entire process of land administration in the state. He stated that if the process of procuring certificates of occupancy is simplified and more buildings are covered, it will have a multiplier effect in revenue generation.
“Apart from the payment of requisite charges for the issuance of certificates of occupancy, a strong data base would have been built for the government to now enforce the payment of ground rent and other yearly charges”, Okenyi said.
He said the target of his Ministry is to become the major revenue earner for the state after the Delta State Board of Internal Revenue.
Inaugurating the Land Recovery Committee, Sapele Zone, which is headed by Chief Joe Egigba, Okenyi said the major objectives are to improve revenue receipts from land charges, curb sharp practices that deny government requisite income and check land speculation as well as institutte a more equitable system of allocation of land.
“You are to ensure that all undeveloped plots of land that are over two years since the owners took full possession are identified and recovered. I want to clarify that building perimeter fences around a piece of land does not amount to development”, the commissioner charged the committee.
Other members of the committee are Mr. Precious Obiohoma as secretary, Chief William Avwigborighe, Dr. Matthew Okotie, Mr. Kenneth Onojaife Mrs. Pauline Avose, Mr. Eddy Ewesuedo and Mr. Francis Pero. They are to submit their report within six weeks.