• Saturday, May 18, 2024
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Simplify property registration in Nigeria


Property registration establishes proof of ownership and produces an easy-to-read document reflecting the contents of all the paper title deeds. This simplifies conveyance, making transactions easier and potentially less costly for all involved. It is a legal procedure in which by paying a certain amount which is actually a percentage of the property value you get the property registered in your name.

However, the 2014 World Bank doing business report released recently showed that Nigeria is still one of the most difficult and expensive places to register property in the whole world. Overall, Nigeria ranked 147 out of 189 economies; in terms of registering properties, the country ranked 185, same position in 2013. According to the report, in the 36 Nigerian states and Abuja, an entrepreneur will need to go through 11 processes over 78 days, and pay 15.8 percent of the value of the property to transfer a property on the average. The World Bank notes that the time to conclude this process is largely dependent on a single requirement – the governor’s consent, which accounts for 65 percent of the total time. But wide sub-national differences emerged when analysing the 36 states and Abuja in detail. For instance, registering a property is easiest in Zamfara, where it takes 9 procedures, 31 days and 8 percent of the property value. But in Abia, this same process takes 13 procedures, 108 days and 15.9 percent of the property value to conclude.

We note that land is a central issue in the development process and secured land rights underpin sustainable development by making it possible and attractive to undertake long term investment. The more liquid land and real estate assets become and the greater the possibility of their use as collateral for mortgage purposes, the more likely they are to contribute to the economic growth process and the alleviation of poverty. In order to enable and stimulate the growth process government needs to monitor and manage the ownership and value of land. It is for this reason that land registration systems play an important part in the growth process.

Thus, a property registration system is necessary to determine record and disseminate information about the ownership, value and use of such property. As such it also contributes to good governance objectives; gives government capacity to manage a valuable natural resource; sustains the rule of law by regulating real estate and land markets; provides security for landowners but also for national and international investors and the finance sector; assists the development of financial markets by providing collateral security; and provides government with a source of revenue.

Although, the Word Bank report ranked Georgia first in property registration, Burundi made the biggest improvement in the ease of registering property by creating a one-stop shop for property registration; the one-stop shop combined the services of the municipality of Bujumbura, Burundi Revenue Authority and land registry, enabling companies to complete property transfers faster without making multiple visits to different agencies.

Generally, for countries that performed well in property registration like Burundi, the most common improvements were combining procedures, increasing administrative efficiency, computerizing registries and lowering property transfer taxes. The government can implement these reforms if there is really a will to have an efficient property registration system in Nigeria.