The office of the Abuja Geographic Information Systems (AGIS) has become a beehive of activities following the order by the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister, Nyesom Wike, to publish the names of the defaulters in the national dailies.
The minister also gave the defaulters two weeks after the publication to pay up or have their property revoked.
Our correspondent, who was at the AGIS office located on 4 Peace Drive, Area 11, Garki, Abuja, observed as debtors of ground rents were visiting the office in a bid to beat the ultimatum and avoid impending revocation of their property.
The Acting Director of AGIS, Isiaku Ndatsu Alfa, confirmed to journalists that there has been a surge in payment of ground rents since the minister ordered the publication of the debtors in the national dailies and threatened to revoke the defaulters within two weeks.
According to him, collections from June to July were at lowest ebb, but immediately after the minister’s actions in August, ground rent earnings quickly rose to N500 million, growing steadily to over N1 billion.
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He said, ‘’By September 17, ground rents has generated almost N2 billion for the FCT Administration, precisely N1.9 billion, and the figure is estimated to double by the end of the month.’’
In order to cope with the surge of customers into AGIS, the director revealed that additional laptops and computer systems have been procured; and redeployment of staff within sections have been effected to meet up with the minister’s two-week ultimatum.
Alfa stated that with the planned introduction of online payment portal for collection of ground rents, Certificate of Occupant (CoO) and others, transactions would be easier and more monies would be collected by AGIS.
He disclosed that the online payment app was already developed and an official launch was expected by the FCT minister before the end of this year.
Alfa explained, “That platform will give you the freedom wherever you are, so that in the comfort of your home, you can log in and feed in some necessary information, which will lead to the payment of ground rent depending on the area and lines of your property.
“That is the way going forward, and very soon, we can launch that App into the remita, so the app will have an interface with the remita.
“This is the first time since the inception of the Federal Capital Territory that we have somebody at the helm of affairs who really cares about the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).”
When pressed to reveal the number of those who have so far paid, he stated that the number was not constant, but the “Collection is about 300 per cent of what we collected before now”.
The Acting Director of Land Administration, FCTA, Jibril Adamu Husseini, applauded the minister for the decision, saying it is the only way to collect the over N34 billion debt.
He stated that non-payment of ground rents was “A breach of terms and breach of the condition of allocation.”