The newly appointed chairman of the Senate Committee on the Federal Capital Territory, Senator Smart Adeyemi, has said that the upper chamber will introduce a property tax on unoccupied buildings and outrageously expensive buildings within the capital city.
Adeyemi made this known at a press briefing on Thursday with members of the committee.
The Kogi West senator lamented that there were too many unoccupied buildings in the city and putting legislation in place was one of the ways to stop the problem and also make the issue of accommodation less burdensome for the average citizens.
He said, “As a committee, we would complement all he has been doing and see how we can help accelerate the socio-economic development of the city and see how we can improve the security of the city.
“We want this city to be a place where everyone will be proud of as the capital of the country and even that of West Africa, because we have the ECOWAS secretariat here.”
Adeyemi said that their work was to call the attention of the executive to certain areas of the needs. And one of such was to solve the issue of accommodation and housing deficit in the state.
He said, “We have found that in this city, many houses are without habitation. There are a lot of mansions with no one living in them and no one is asking questions.
“If the building of those houses were funded by loans from banks, then the banks should be asking for interest.
“If you have built houses and they are unoccupied, we’d find out the reasons and tell the government to lock them up so that criminals will not take charge. We’d propel legislation that will cause them to start paying taxes, so that we’d use the money to develop the city.
“We’re not asking people not to build, but if you build and it’s not something within the range of what an average person can afford, you’d start paying taxes.”
The chairman further emphasised that if buildings were left unoccupied, then their owners should be ready to pay property tax, which would mean taking from the rich to save the poor.
Adeyemi further added that the committee was determined to make this city better such that everyone would be proud of it.
The senator commended the executive for the work done in the state, noting that a lot of work needed to be done, especially regarding release of funds to the state because the city required more funds.
He stated, “The issues we will be addressing will be to complement the effort of the executive and also calling their attention.
“Also, the Federal Government must realize that Abuja must be well funded. To give Abuja N12.9bn in the budget is not achievable. The FG must take Abuja more seriously. The security challenges of the country have made Abuja seem like a safe haven for people, thereby causing an increase in population which puts pressure on the infrastructure structures that’s available.”
“We have the 2022 statutory budget and that of 2023. All the areas that we feel need serious attention, we’d call the executive to those areas,” Adeyemi noted.