Lagos has reduced planning permit fees after an outcry from stakeholders in the construction and real estate sector. The new rates are still higher than before, but they are a significant decrease from the over 100 per cent increase that was announced in June.
“The reduction in statutory payment will encourage many people to develop their buildings rather than embarking on illegal development,” said Bisi Adedire, President of the Association of Town Planning Consultants of Nigeria (ATOPCON).
“It is a welcome development that will encourage voluntary compliance to law. The prospective developers will be willing and have confidence to showcase their project and there will be more engagement of both professionals and technicians, as well as improve market operation. Food vendors too will have something to sell on site and the economy will improve. This means more revenue to the government.”
The new rates are also a relief for those who have already built without planning permits. The government has removed the stage certification fee for these projects, and only requires that the buildings undergo integrity tests.
“By the time people pay a penal fee as a result of building without a planning permit, the government has removed the stage certification fee unlike before when you pay stage certification for a project that has already been completed whereas no one is coming to inspect it,” Adedire said.
“The only thing one needs to do is to conduct integrity tests for existing buildings. It is another relief for those that have built without planning permits.”
Adedire said the new rate will trigger employment for professionals in the built industry. “By the time people are engaged in architecture design, more builders, engineers and artisans will also come on board,” he said.
However, the ATOPCON president said the new rate is still high despite the reduction and compared to what it used to be. The rate, he said, has increased astronomically. “We still need to appreciate the reduction because if the government had not, we would have remained like a toothless bull dog that can only bark but not bite,” he said.
However, the Chairman of the Lagos State chapter of the Nigerian Institute of Town Planners (NITP), Mr. Omotayo Awomosu, said the new rates are still a significant increase.
“The increase would have worsened situations in the construction sector,” Awomosu said. “The review is not really satisfactory but what can we do? It is an improvement; the review will reduce pressure, although not sure if it is reducing now. Since it is a downward review, there is a little improvement, we still ask for more.”
The reduction in fees is a welcome development, but it is still not enough. The Chairman of the Lagos State chapter of the Nigerian Institute of Town Planners, Mr. Omotayo Awomosu, said that the new rates are still a significant increase. He called for further reductions to make them more affordable for prospective homeowners and property developers.
Source: The Guardian Newspaper