In apparent bid to overcome obstacles limiting Federal Government’s ease of doing business in the real estate sector, global experts and bigwigs met in Lagos at the weekend to review its implementation in the industry.
They agreed that the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business index has impacted positively on the market, but a lot still need to be done in attracting foreign direct investment into the market, especially in creating an enabling environment for the real estate sector.
After setting up the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC), Nigeria has registered a historic improvement in latest ranking for Ease of Doing Business, released last year by the World Bank. The overall ranking jumped from the 170th to the 145th place out of 190 countries.
Specifically, in their submission at a Business Forum organised by the International Real Estate Federation (FIABCI) Nigeria, industry stakeholders lamented that despite the improvement of the country on the global ranking, private developers continue to encounter difficulties in obtaining construction permits, registering of property titles due to lack of transparency by officials of government.
It is a known fact that the Nigerian real estate sector remains unorganized and fragmented, which has historically made foreign investors reluctant to make large-scale investments into it.
The insufficient sources of funds has also exacerbated the liquidity crunch of developers and slowed down the sector’s recovery from recession.
According to them, a new reform such as introduction of technology in the sector that will eliminate bureaucracy in the issuance of permits and will boost confidence of global investors in the sector as well as ensure influx of foreign investments.
FIABCI-Nigeria President, Mr. Adeniji Adele who set the tune for the discussion said the forum was one of the association’s ways of providing access and opportunities for real estate professionals interested in gaining knowledge, sharing information and conducting international business with each other.
He said: “The specific reforms spearheaded by PEBEC have yielded positive results as evidenced by World Bank’s 2018 Ease of Doing Business Index.
“We have been able to realize that effective collaborations among players in the private and pubic sectors can create enabling path of growth to contribute its quota to the nation’s economic development, which enhances the ease of doing more business within and among industry and professionals locally and in diaspora.”
While World president of FIABCI international, Mr. Assen Makedonov said that the use of block chain technology will reduce corruption in the real estate and bring about transparency.
The immediate past president FIABCI international, Mr. Farook Manhood said, when government embraces technology, there will be transparency and less bureaucracy.
He noted that several opportunities abound in the real estate, if there is ease of doing business, which includes foreign direct investment. Manhood called for the elimination of double taxation policies in the industry.
The Chief Executive Officer, Eximia Realty Company Limited, Hakeem Ogunniran, urged the government to reduce documentations needed for planning permits and multiple regulatory agencies in the built environment sector.
The Managing Director, Alphamead Group, Femi Akintunde, argued that the government has not demonstrated the capacity to reduce construction cost despite the new ranking by the World Bank.
He said that bureaucracy and delays in the issuance of certificate of occupancy, especially in the use of property for mortgage refinancing are hampering several property developments.
The Permanent Secretary, Lagos Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development, Mrs. Boladele Dapo-Thomas stressed that building permit process in the state is not cumbersome. He urged the applicants to avoid the use of third parties.
She said that the state has improved planning permit application process via an e-planning platform.
All applicants enjoy reduced costs for permits due to the elimination of requirements for infrastructure development charge (IDC) for two floor warehouses, soil test and environmental impact assessment (EIA), certified true copy (CTC) of title document and survey plan.
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