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'The Federal Government Should Conduct Inventory and Viability Studies on Assets in Lagos'

Mr. Gbenga Ismail, Chairman of the Lagos branch of the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV), discussed various issues in an interview with CHINEDUM UWAEGBULAM. He addressed the challenges of abandoned Federal Government properties in Lagos, effective home ownership, property taxation, and the tenancy law in Nigeria.
 
In the interview, Mr. Ismail expressed concern about the abandoned federal government properties in Lagos since the capital moved to Abuja in 1991. He suggested that these properties could be put to better use through concessioning, long-term leasing, or even selling them. He emphasized the importance of unlocking the potential of these assets, citing successful examples like the former Ikoyi Hotel and the Eko Atlantic development.
 
Regarding the challenges of tenants' inability to pay rent and give up apartments in Lagos, Mr. Ismail didn't attribute the problem to the tenancy law. Instead, he argued that the issue stemmed from the mismatch between the law's payment structure (monthly or one year) and the practical reality of short-term cash receivable cycles in residential lettings. He suggested that restructuring the rental system is essential to address this problem effectively.
 
 
Mr. Ismail discussed the importance of property taxation as a source of revenue for state governments and emphasized the need for a well-planned property tax system. He noted that Lagos State's land use charge is an example of organized property taxation but suggested that it could be optimized to capture more revenue.
 
Regarding effective homeownership, Mr. Ismail stressed its significance in addressing insecurity issues in Nigeria. He called for reforms in land use regulations, the manufacturing of local building materials, and improvements in the mortgage finance system to promote homeownership.
 
Mr. Ismail acknowledged the presence of established foreign real estate companies in Nigeria but advocated for a regulatory framework that ensures a balance between local and foreign practices. He emphasized the importance of proper regulations to create a win-win situation for all stakeholders.
 
Regarding rivalries among professionals in the built environment, particularly between estate surveyors and engineers, Mr. Ismail emphasized the need for better engagement and collaboration to foster alignment and overcome division. He believed that working together would lead to better results and more opportunities for all.
 
Finally, he addressed the influx of people into agency practice within the estate management profession. He highlighted the importance of increasing the number of students studying estate management at universities and polytechnics and retaining them within the profession. Mr. Ismail also discussed efforts by NIESV to professionalize the agency sector through the Association of Estate Agents in Nigeria (AEAN) and the importance of training and joining recognized and regulated bodies like NIESV and AEAN for estate agents.

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