PROBLEM AND PROSPECTS OF GROUND RENT ADMINISTRATION IN PLATEAU STATE
Background to study
By way of definition, according to the Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of Law (2051), a ground rent is the rent paid by a lessee for the use of land especially for building or, a rent charge reserved to himself for his or her heirs by the grantor of land in fee on perpetual lease, or on lease for a renewable term of years.”
In essence, ground rent is a fee charged on landed property by the government, at least going by the law which stipulates that the government is the chief owner of land in Nigeria.
Recently, the Plateau State Commissioner of Lands and Survey, Architect Yilji Gomwalk announced that the state government will begin the collection of ground rents from land owners as from July 2013. He said that the efforts are part of government’s effort to improve its Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).
Gomwalk was optimistic that the Jang administration in Plateau State through the Ministry started the enumeration of all landed property in the state in order to facilitate easy collection of such rents from land owners.
Before now, the state government was not collecting ground rents due to what the Lands and Survey Commissioner attributed as poor data base to ascertain who and who had what and the numerical population of houses within the greater Jos Master Plan.
By implication however, the ground rents will be paid according to the number of the Certificate of Occupancy (C of Os) that has been issued by the state government. Apart from enabling the Plateau State Government keep tabs on the number of property within the Greater Jos Master Plan, the ground rents when collected, will jerk up the IGR that will in turn be channeled into infrastructural development of the state.
Plateau State appears to be one of the states in the federation that is implementing this policy belatedly, as it were. Long before now states like Nasarawa, Delta, Kano to mention but three, had realized the need for charges to be remitted to their respective state governments annually. In Delta State for instance, land owners with title are required by law to come forward and pay their ground rents on the first week of January every other year.
Statement of problem
Today in plateau state ground rent is a compulsory levy imposed on landlords or land owners upon his property by the government to provide security social amenities in order to create condition for economic well being of the society and its citizenry. This system has been considered to mean the process of taxation land owners involving sets of rules, regulations and procedures with the organs of administrations interacting with one another to generate fund for government.
Be that as it may, it appears the situation is centrally when view from the practical implementation especially as it concerns the area under investigation. The major problems being sought out in this study include, authorities in plateau state and Nigeria at large lack the desired institutional capacity to administer such ground rent tax system effectively.
Since there is a gap between what is supposed to be and what is actually on the ground it become impossible, for smoothly collection of tax by Benue state internal revenue service. Because tax payer need to know not only the tax but loud the board is governed to interface with their economic and social living. The magnitude of the doubt raised above implies some underlying problems and this is the inspiration of the research.
Objectives of the Study
The general objective of the study is to find out problem of ground rent administration in plateau state, with a view to preferring solutions and strategies through which they could be put to a stop. The specific objectives of the study therefore include:
- To establish whether lack of compliance by land owners cause of low rate of returns from ground rent.
- To find out whether lack of staff training is the cause of poor administration of ground rent.
- To ascertain if ground rent administration will be more efficient when separated from the civil service.