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We’ll not tolerate sharp practices, Sanwo-Olu warns Physical Planning Agencies


Ayodele Olalere

Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Wednesday warned staff of land and property permit approving agencies in the state to avoid corruption and sharp practices, warning his administration would not tolerate corrupt practices by officers engaging in sharp practices in giving approvals.l to real estate practitioners.

In his speech at the first Lagos Real Estate Market Place Conference and Exhibition themed ‘Unearthing real opportunities in real estate, making Lagos a 21st-century economy’, held at Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, the governor stated there have been several complaints from residents and real estate practitioners on the low turn around time for permit approval.

He said the delay in granting approval fuels corrupt practices in the agencies and charged the Ministry of Physical Planning and agencies under it like the Lagos State Physical Planning Permit Agency and Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA)to scale up and do a better job about physical planning approvals.

The governor noted that the agencies need to be up and doing especially as the real estate sector has the capacity to redefine the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country, with Lagos, not an exception.

“We as a government have looked at ourselves and said we need to do things differently. That is why we have to sit down with you and one of the areas I know you have problems with us is not only in lands but also physical planning. We need to do a better job of physical planning, we need to do a better job of LASBCA and we need to do a quick turn around in our lands department because people want to have a positive experience.

“We have started it, we have been on this GIS solution for a while. It’s a project we are desirous to go live on and once it kicks starts, it will become a one-stop-shop. With it, you will be able to get Governor’s Consent and Certificate of Occupancy on time, and all of the documentation for subsequent transaction,” he said.

Sanwo-Olu further noted that housing, real estate, property development is a critical sector and strong enabler that can help to transform the Gross Domestic Product of the state and by extension the country.

He said having a roof over one’s head is one the critical needs of mankind, saying it is proper for the government and private sector to give priority attention to it.

The governor pointed out that real estate opportunities in the state are boundless waiting to be explored, saying LASRERA, a housing regulatory body becomes imperative to ensure that there is data capturing operators in the industry and the right thing was being done in the sector.

Sanwo-Olu noted that government cannot claim to know it all in exploring the opportunities, the reason it must collaborate and sit with critical stakeholders to explore the opportunities.

The governor said the state government is working on all the indices to make Lagos competitive in terms of ease of doing business, especially as Lagos is compared with cities around the world.

In her welcome address, the Special Adviser to Sanwo-Olu on Housing, Mrs Toke Benson-Awoyinka, appealed to investors in the real estate sector to team up with the state government to create a homeownership model that will help the agency address the deficits observed in the housing market in the state through the state Public and Private Partnership initiative in providing mass housing for the people.

“‘As a government determined to bridge the housing deficit in the state, we are aware the role of government in not just the provision of houses alone but also to create an enabling environment for the private sector working hand in hand to the desired end.

“We will make the business thrive and we will relentlessly pursue the sole aim of government which is the protection of lives and property beginning with the provision of decent and affordable housing for the people of our dear state, Lagos,” she said.

During the panel discussion, the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Moyosore Onigbanjo said as part of efforts aimed at promoting ease of doing business led to the enactment of the state Property protection law in 2016.

Represented by a director in the ministry, Mrs Kehinde Taiwo, Onigbanjo said the taskforce on land grabbing set up as a result of the law has received over 4300 petitions with over 2000 of such petitions concluded.