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No plans to introduce property tax in Akwa Ibom, says commissioner

Akwa Ibom State government has said it had no plans in the short run to introduce any property taxation through the Akwa Geographical Information System (AkwaGIS) being implemented in the state.

Linus Nkan, the commissioner for finance, made this known during the launch of the system in Uyo, the state capital.

“It is not the intention of Akwa Ibom State government to introduce property tax through this process. The AkwaGIS is rather to bring a lot of advantages and benefits to the people. For us, the aspect that is of great interest is the economic progress of our people,” he said.

He lauded Governor Udom Emmanuel’s effort in closing the digital gap in the process of documentation, information and management of land and property in the state, maintaining that the Governor was working to realise “the dream of Akwa Ibom people to have a digitalisation of land and property and resources.”

He further said the initiative will be of great benefit to businesses in the state in terms of financing.

Read Also: Controversy trails property tax bill in Akwa Ibom

“You cannot be a successful business man if you don’t have access to bank facilities. Our people do not have what it takes to provide collateral that can secure them opportunities to have bank facilities to run their businesses. AkwaGIS is one of the ways to have titled documents. This is one of the ways we can use to accelerate the economic development of the state,” Nkan stated.

Earlier, the State Commissioner for Lands and Water Resources, Umo Eno had said the system would enable government to manage, register and secure landed property in the interest of both the property owners and government through the electronic capturing of land information for easy processing and retrieval.

Consultant to the project, Frank Ekpenyong, who said participation in the process was free for all land and property owners, explained that there are two parts of the programme, which are the one that deals with automating land processes and that which deals on property enumerations.

Even though digital records of all the buildings in the state have been captured, Ekpenyong said what they do not have is information on ownership of the buildings and what they are used for.

“There are two strands to this. The first strand deals with automating land processes. For example, applying for your Certificate of Occupancy, applying or registering for Power of Attorney and doing land transfer. If you buy a land and want to do transfer, you can register that online without any issue. The second part is on property enumeration.

“We already have digital records of all buildings in the state using aerial and satellite imagery. What we do not have is information on who owns the buildings and what the buildings are used for,” he stated.

Chairman of EsitEket Local Government Area and State Chairman of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON), Iniobong Robson, said a lot of people have found themselves in difficulties due to lack of an efficient and effective property enumeration regime, noting that the initiative will make life better in the state, to curb crime and improve the security of lives and property.

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