By Yinka Kolawole
The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) administration has reaffirmed that there is no going back on the introduction of property tax for land owners in the territory, while putting on hold work on the N50 billion Abuja millennium tower project.
FCT Minister, Senator Adamu Aliero, urged all property owners in Abuja to get ready for the new policy which, according to him, was initiated to raise more funds to supplement its revenue from the federal government to enable it meet the aspirations of residents.
Aliero said that his administration is seeking ways of generating more funds to provide basic infrastructure for the FCT residents, adding that projects worth about N300 billion have been executed in the territory within the last one year. He lamented that his administration inherited project liabilities worth about N150 billion while only receiving monthly allocation N60 billion from the federal government.
â€œThe property tax is on course. Cities all over the world are being charged property tax and are developed through it. Even here in Nigeria, cities like Lagos and Port Harcourt are charging property tax, so we here in Abuja should be prepared to pay. Gone were the days when government provided everything.
â€œAs soon as we finalise plans, we shall commence it. Right now, we are waiting for the National Assembly to finish work on the law and pass it into bill so we can have the needed legal backing for the policy,â€ he stated.
The Minister said that the ambitious Millennium Tower project initiated by the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo is not considered a priority by the present administration. â€œIt is not in the 2009 budget and not also on the priority list of the present government. But we are collaborating with the private sector through the Public Private Partnership (PPP) to make the project a reality,â€ he said.
According to Aliero, since the Supreme Court halted the previous monthly allocation of one percent of the total federation revenue to the FCT, it now relies on one percent of what the federal government gets from its share of the total federation proceeds.
â€œThe FCT has two budgets, namely the national priority budget which has been implemented up to 84 percent, and the FCT statutory budget which has been implemented up to 89 percent.