What’s Behind the Empty Houses of Abuja and What Can be Done About Them?

This report by the guardian cites the high cost of rent and the absence of a structured property tax system as the key factors responsible for the increasing number of unoccupied houses in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.

Nigeria’s present housing deficit stands at 22 million, with the nation’s capital contributing about 1.7 million to the shortfall. Even with such huge deficit, the FCT currently serves as host to many unoccupied residential and commercial buildings. Acting Managing Director, Abuja Property Development Company (APDC), Lawal Aliyu Magaji, proposes a robust tax system in form of ground rent and effective regulation by the government as possible solutions to this challenge.

“One of the causes of empty houses in the city is that most of the houses are big houses mostly in highbrow areas in Maitama, Asokoro and so on. Previously, when there was so much money, people could afford to rent those property but currently, it would be difficult to see people who can afford to rent houses that runs into millions of naira. If we have a good property tax system where those houses are being taxed, people would not continue to keep houses unoccupied. When these owners are being taxed for houses they built which is not fetching them any profit, they would have a rethink. Again, government is looking for sources of income to be able to do a lot of things. The tax system is really what is needed to be done.

Lawal Aliyu Magaji, Acting Managing Director, Abuja Property Development Company (APDC), in conversation with the guardian

Read the full report on the guardian.