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Stakeholders Want FCT Land Swap Suspended

Posted: Jun 6, 2016 at 8:20 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)
Stakeholders in the housing sector on Monday called for immediate suspension of the Land Swap Scheme initiated by Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) due to haphazard implementation.
According to a document Bala Mohammed, former FCT Minister, who initiated the scheme, presented to the House Committee on FCT, 15 investors were to invest about N1 trillion into provision of infrastructure and housing projects. 
They argued that the Land Swap model contravened Part III section 15 and Part VIII Section 44 of the Public Procurement Act 2007, for it did not call for expression of interests via advertisement, and that there was no tendering or competitive bidding and failed to meet international best practices as done in other climes.
 They cited example of Connecticut Land Swap, the Falls Creek Resort and the Alphine National Park Swap, and the Tennessee Land Swap programmes in America.
Emmanuel Alao, Chairman, National Institution of Estate Surveyors and
Valuers (NIESV) who spoke at the investigative public hearing on Land
Swap scheme held at the National Assembly complex, Abuja, specifically called for valuation of all the land to be allocated with a view to ascertain the market value and quantum of infrastructure to be provided by the investors.
Ajao also emphasised the need to conduct comprehensive appraisal/costing of the entire infrastructure project in line with the Public Procurement Act and Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission Act and facilitated by the Land Use and Allocation Committee.
The NIESV chairman who called for the suspension of the 40:60 ratio of land sharing until the determination of the empirical value of the apportioned land, recommended the inclusion of the NIESV in any of the implementation Committee.
He also alleged that, “investors who do not have the requisite funds to honour their development obligation would pre-sell the plots before they are serviced.
 “This would escalate the price of each unit and subsequently push up the price of housing, whether capital or rental.
“Thus the government intention that the programme will bring down rents by fiat will be negated. The mass housing scheme suffered the same fate,” Alao argued.
In his presentation, Bala Mohammed, the immediate past FCT Chairman explained that the Land Swap initiative was necessitated by the urgent need for full development of 71 districts and 26 sector areas of the territory.
He said that the private sector participation in the provision of infrastructure through the Land Swap scheme became necessary in the face of dwindling funds available to the FCTA capital votes having fallen from over N150 billion in the recent past to as low as less than N12 billion.
He explained that the gazette produced by the FCT administration for guiding investors and other stakeholders was neither an executive order nor a law, but a notice of FCT Minister Executive Council conclusions,
just as he urged the Committee to study the key performance indices (KPIs) achieved rather than paper framework which is intended to boost the integrity and transparency of the process within the global best practices.
“From the benefit of hindsight, the funding challenges involved with the resettlement and compensation of the project affected people (PAP) was the most herculean of the issues that needed to be addressed.
“Currently, with over N450 billion liability on resettlement and compensation for existing indigenous villages, economic trees and crops in the Federal Capital Territory, an additional N64 billion liability under the same sub-head from the Land Swap Programme would have grounded the whole vision,” he contended.