By Magnus Aluma, Abakaliki
The Ebonyi State Government has expressed its willingness to work with the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers in all her land polices. The commissioner for Lands and Survey, Dr. Matthew Nwobasi disclosed this, while addressing members of the Ebonyi State Chapter of the Nigerian Institution of Surveyors in his office at Abakaliki.
He said the Ebonyi State Government will soon come out with a comprehensive inventory for her landed properties, to help in drawing a clearer road map that would boost her Internally Generated Revenue, IGR.
The Commissioner told members of the Institution that some of them who are also staff of the Ministry of Lands usually assist the Government in resolving issues of valuation and compensation but said the Ministry will henceforth engage those of them outside, for their independent advice.
“A good number of your professional colleagues are staff of the Ministry, who usually give their independent advice to Government when it comes to valuation and compensation, but the Ministry will henceforth be involving those of them outside the Ministry to also give their independent advise because our Governor is interested in doing things the right way in this State,” he said.
Nwobasi, therefore, called on the surveyors to always feel free to call the Ministry to order whenever they think the Ministry is not doing the right thing. He further said: “as we progress, the Ministry is also going to involve the Town Planners, the Land Surveyors and the Estate Surveyors, to draw a clear road map to enable them generate more revenue for us to move the state forward.”
In a remark, the leader of the team and chairman of the Ebonyi State Chapter of the Nigerian Institution of Surveyors, Chizoba Ugwu told the Commissioner that they were in his office to draw his attention to some issues that bother on their professional practice, and also express their readiness to partner with the Ministry.
He emphasized the need for the Ministry to always use valuation reports prepared by Independent Valuers, to ensure fairness and justice, in land management. His words: “the Ministry should try as much as possible to ensure the use of valuation reports from Independent Valuers who are not their staff. This will ensure fairness and boost the confidence of the claimants.”
He disclosed that the Institution of Surveyors has developed some principles aimed at ensuring equity in taxation and curbing tax evasion, by the taxpayers. Surveyor Ugwu further stressed the need for property assessment and effective rating, adding that it helps Estate Surveyors and Valuers to professionally increase government’s Internally Generated Revenue, IGR, through effective property rating.
He observed that, though the Nigerian Constitution stipulates that every privately owned property should be assessed for tenement rates, some properties do not have easily identifiable marks or addresses, for Estate Surveyors and Valuers to solve the problem of poor referencing of properties in the State.
Ugwu promidised that his group will prepare an inventory for the landed properties of Ebonyi State, because according to him, “there is currently no single document that can show landed properties of the State Government.”
Continuing, he said, “we will render professional advice to government on whether properties should be kept or disposed after determining their current values. Government should also always involve Estate Surveyors and Valuers as members of land management committees in the State.”
In a vote of thanks, the Vice Chairman of the Institution in Ebonyi State, Mrs. Nnenna Ugwuocha, appreciated the Commissioner for giving them audience. She said the group is looking forward to greater partnership with the government in the management of her properties.