REVENUE collection by the Ministry of Lands, Housing, and Survey (MLHS) through land rentals over the years continue to increase and this year is expected to be highest in eight years.
This was revealed by the Commissioner of Lands Alan McNeil in an interview with the paper.
“Ministry of Lands revenue collected from land rents has been increasing in recent years, not decreasing.
“The land rent collected so far in 2020 is about $4.8 million, which is the highest it’s been in the last 8 years.
“The total Ministry of Lands revenue, meanwhile, has broken all records this year, jumping above $10 million for the first time.
“In fact, it has already reached more than $12.7 million, with several more weeks left in the year, which is a remarkable achievement in the middle of a pandemic,” Mr. Mcneil said.
He attributed the payment of renewal in expired Fixed Term Estates (FTE) as a contributing factor.
“I put this down to one key revenue stream: renewal of expired Fixed Term Estates (FTE).
“For this, I thank those FTE owners for coming forward with the reports we need to properly assess their applications for renewal, and my hard-working officers for processing the letters of offer, collection of revenue, and preparing the new grant instruments.
The ministry does try to remind members of the public to pay their land rents each year, and there is always the risk that Fixed Term Estates (FTE) can be forfeited due to failure to pay land rents.
“It is also a timely reminder to other FTE owners to check the expiry date of their FTEs and to come forward and apply for renewals if their FTE has expired, otherwise you are technically a squatter with no land title.
“The SIG budget suggests we were meant to collect more than $24 million in revenue in 2020.
“I don’t know how this figure was set, and it is totally unrealistic given that we had never achieved revenue as high as $10 million before.
“The Ministry of Lands ideally should be collecting more revenue from land premiums and land rents, and we will be able to do this incrementally as more FTEs are renewed. “Ideally we also need a digital land register so that land rents can be revised easily and across the board, and I know that a digital land register is currently being developed. “According to the law we should also have a valuation roll for the whole country to serve as the basis for recalculating land rents, and again I’m pleased to note that the Valuer-General is close to completing this valuation roll,” the Lands chief said.
By MOFFAT MAMU