The Commissioner of Lands and Survey, Mr. Yilji Gomwalk, says Plateau State Government will begin ground rents collection next month from land owners. He said that the measure is part government’s effort to improve its internally generated revenue (IGR).
The Commissioner said that his ministry has begun the enumeration of all landed properties to facilitate easy collection of such rents from land owners across the state.
According to him, “Every piece of land that you have is in care of the government; the government is the ultimate land owner but we lease it out to an individual or corporate organisation for a certain period of time, as the word lease implies. There should be a sort of numeration given to the government as a tax or in our own case, ground rent. We are out to collect those rents which over the years have not been collected.”
Gomwalk said that the on-going enumeration exercise would enable the government to ascertain the number of land owners and structures as contained in Certificates of Occupancy (C of Os), calling on the public particularly the land owners to give their maximum cooperation to the ministry for the smooth take off of the enumeration and rent collection exercise.
He said, “Hitherto, we were not collecting those ground rents because we did not know who and who had what and how many houses do we have in the Greater Jos Master Plan? We will have a rough estimate; do you have a title document or not? If you have a title document, then you pay because you are now leasing it from the government; so that is what we are doing now to improve our IGR.’’
He explained that Governor Jonah Jang’s desire is to generate good money that will enable him to carry out his developmental dreams for the people of the state; the ground rents will go a long way towards assisting him to fulfil such dreams.
For him, “Lands and Survey Ministry has woken up to its responsibility, the public also should wake up to their responsibility for their own safety, for their own land document, everything; they should come and just embrace the exercise and we shall go together; the end result will be beneficial.’’
He said that mobile courts has been established for the purpose of prosecuting defaulters and warned against defaulting.