A housing expect, Mr Festus Adebayo, on Tuesday urged the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) to impose tax on unoccupied houses in the territory.
Adebayo made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
He said that if tax was imposed, it would force the prices of unoccupied houses or rents on them, especially in estates, to fall and be affordable to majority of residents of the area and this measure would also help to reduce the housing deficit in the country.
The expert said that tax on unoccupied houses would equally discourage usage of stolen money to build or acquire land and housing properties carelessly in Abuja.
“The FCTA should begin to implement its property tax administration policy by putting tax on those properties.
“When all those properties are getting taxed and the tax is huge, the owner will be forced to sell the property at the rate people in the market are requesting for other than keeping the building there.
“Even if the money used to build the house is laundered, they cannot still afford to pay huge tax every year.
“The government should not let houses to be standing and nobody occupying them especially in Maitama, Asokoro, Kubwa, Utako, Wuse and Lokogoma,’’ he said.
Adebayo said the affordability of the houses would facilitate greater access to good home, especially by those in the lower income group.
He urged the Federal Government to mitigate the housing challenges by creating conducive environment for investors in the housing sector to enable them to operate and to improve the sector.
“Housing is a lucrative business in Nigeria because everybody wants to own a house.
“Therefore it is not a business that will not sell or work out if one is into it,’’ he said.
The expert also called for relaxed conditions for investors in the housing sectors in terms of giving lands to estate developers with capability, while government should provide some level of necessary infrastructure.
He said that with adequate infrastructure in place, the prices of the houses being built by the estate developers would come down to an affordable level.
“This is because for every amount the estate developer pays for infrastructure, land and compensation to the natives, they are always transferring it to the people that will buy the houses.
“These in return contribute to the high cost of housing thereby making it difficult for many Nigerians to own houses in the country,’’ he said.