The two-week ultimatum issued by the minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Nyesom Wike, for those owing ground rents to pay up or have their property revoked, has led to the recovering of N1 billion in one month.
Since the directive, the headquarters of the Abuja Geographic Information Systems (AGIS) has become a beehive of activities as property owners rush to pay their debts.
LEADERSHIP Friday observed that the debtors of ground rents daily besiege the AGIS office in a bid to beat the ultimatum and avoid impeding revocation of their property.
The acting director of AGIS, Isiaku Ndatsu Alfa stated that there has been a surge in payment of ground rents since the minister threatened revocation and commenced publication of the debtors.
Nsatsu said collections from June to July were at the lowest ebb, but immediately after the minister’s order in August, ground rent earnings rose to N500 million and increased steadily to over N1 billion.
He said by September 17, 2023, ground rents had generated precisely N1.9 billion, and the figure is estimated to double by the end of the month.
Alfa stated that with the planned introduction of an online payment portal for the collection of ground rents, certificate of occupancy (C of O), and others, transactions would be easier, and more monies collected by AGIS.
He disclosed that the online payment app was already developed and an official launch was expected by the FCT minister before the end of this year.
The director said the platform will make it possible for people to pay from the comfort of their home.
“That is the way going forward, and very soon, we can launch that App into the Remita, so the app will have an interface with the Remita.
“This is the first time since the inception of the FCT that we have somebody at the helm of affairs, the FCT minister, who cares about the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).
“If you do not have revenue or you have dwindling revenues, you might not be able to embark on some capital projects as it were, ever since the honourable minister came in his wisdom.
“I do not want to say he warned but he advised that all property owners within the FCT should make it a point of duty to meet up with their part of the obligations, as far as the ground rent payments are concerned.
“To our amazement, and happiness, there was a surge at the customer service area and that surge also translated into recoveries, in the sense that monies that were being owed are now being paid,” he said.
To cope with the surge of customers into AGIS, the director said additional laptops and computer systems had been procured and redeployment of staff within sections had been carried out to meet Wike’s ultimatum.
Also, the acting director of AGIS’ Department of Land Administration, FCTA, Jibril Adamu Husseini, applauded the FCT minister for the decision, saying it was the only way to collect the over N34 billion debt.
He said non-payment of ground rents was “a breach of terms and breach of the condition of allocation.”