Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Wednesday warned land and property permit approving agencies in the state not to engage in sharp practices in giving approvals.
Sanwo-Olu gave the warning at the First Lagos Real Estate Market Place Conference and Exhibition, themed: “Unearthing Real Opportunities in Real Estate, Making Lagos a 21st Century Economy´´.
The programme was organised by the Lagos State Real Estate Regulatory Authority (LASRERA).
He urged them to live above board, as his administration would no longer tolerate officers engaging in sharp practices in giving approvals.
The governor said that there had been complaints concerning turn around time for permit approval.
He, therefore, said the Ministry of Physical Planning and agencies under it, like the Lagos State Physical Planning Permit Agency and Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA), needed to scale up and do better job on physical planning approvals.
Sanwo-Olu said that the agencies needed to be up and doing especially as the real estate sector had 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; 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 quicker turn around in our lands department, people want to have a positive experience.
“We have started it, we have been on this Geographic Information System (GIS) solution for a while, it is a project we are desirous to go live on, once it kick starts, what it means is that it is one stop shop.
“With it you will be able to get your Governor’s Consent, approval and Certificate of Occupancy on time, all of the documentation for subsequent transaction,” he said.
The governor said 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 was one of the critical needs of mankind, as it was proper for the government and private sector to give priority attention to it.
Sanwo-Olu said that real estate opportunities in the state were boundless waiting to be explored.
He said that LASRERA, a housing regulatory body, became imperative to ensure that there was data capturing operators in the industry and the right thing was being done in the sector.
Sanwo-Olu said that government could not claim to know it all in exploring the opportunities, reason it must collaborate with critical stakeholders to explore the opportunities.
The governor said the state government was working on all the indices to make Lagos competitive in terms of ease of doing business, especially as Lagos was compared with cities around the world.
The Special Adviser to Sanwo-Olu on Housing, Mrs Toke Benson-Awoyinka, in her welcome address, appealed to investors in the real estate sector to team up with the state government.
Benson-Awoyinka said that there was the need to create a home ownership model that would help address the deficits observed in 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 a desired end.
“We will make 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, Mr Moyosore Onigbanjo, said that efforts aimed at promoting ease of doing business led to the enactment of the State Property Protection Law in 2016.
Onigbanjo, who is also the Commissioner for Justice, was represented by a director in the ministry, Mrs Kehinde Taiwo.
He said that the taskforce on land grabbing set up as a result of the law had received over 4,300 petitions with over 2,000 of such petitions concluded.