Govs Move to Strengthen Land Administration, Boost IGR

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•States to get $2m for meeting June 2021 deadline

By Chuks Okocha

The governors of the 36 states under the aegis of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF), have moved to strengthen land administration and boost Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) in their respective states.

The move is expected to bring sanity to land administration while ensuring that fair and right taxes, fees or levies are charged.

To actualise these, the governors in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, assisted by the World Bank, have scheduled two Virtual Peer Learning Events (PLEs) on “Using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Technology to Strengthen Land Administration and Property Taxation” at the subnational level.

The event, according to a statement issued yesterday by the Senior Programme Manager of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum SFTAS Technical Assistance Project, Mr. Olanrewaju Ajogbasile, is part of several capacity building efforts aimed at supporting the effective deployment of GIS at state-level.

The statement said efforts are underway to provide states with GIS data, orthophotos of property mapping and software to support enumeration.

States that are able to update their property records before June 30, 2021 to capture at least 50 per cent of the property that have electricity connections in urban areas will each unlock $2 million in performance grant under the World Bank-funded States Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) Programme for results.

The statement, however, added that it is imperative that these property records reflect accurate information about the name of the owner/occupier, size of the land parcel, size of the building, use of the land/property amongst other criteria required by the programme.

It added that states are at varying stages of GIS deployment with some notably Kaduna, Kogi, Lagos, Oyo, Nasarawa and Gombe states leading the way.

The peer learning events will have these states showcase their deployment experience and avail aspiring states still early in the process of deployment, an opportunity to address challenges that could derail and hinder GIS deployment at the state level.

Ajogbasile said the two peer learning events would hold next month.

He noted that the states are determined to get it right this time and ensure old mistakes are not repeated, thus, the need to learn from the experiences of others who have led the way in GIS deployment.

Olanrewaju said GIS deployment and the consequential benefit of holding accurate land and property records would bring sanity to land administration while ensuring that fair and right taxes, fees or levies are charged.

He added that at least 160 persons will be in attendance at both events, including state actors, partners and implementing agencies on the SFTAS programme.

Amongst the state officials to attend are states project managers for the GIS deployment, directors of lands (Ministry of Lands/GIS Agency); directors, property tax (state IRS) and states SFTAS focal persons.

He explained that expectations are also that each state will as part of the efforts to strengthen the land administration system, engage civil societies and associations, including the citizenry to ensure smooth implementation of critical reforms that may follow.