Nigeria slumps in World Bank’s property registration ranking

October 29, 2019
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There is no respite in sight for Nigeria’s troubled real estate sector as the latest doing business report by the World Bank ranked the ease of registering a property in the country at 183, one of the worst positions among its Africa peers.

With the current ranking by the Washington-based lender, the most populous nation in Africa, which is faced with a housing deficit of more than 17 million units, was only better than 7 countries from the 190 that were surveyed.

Ghana was ranked 111th country with the most ease of registering property while South Africa stood at the 108th easiest country to register property.

It takes 33 days to get a property registered in Ghana. If that is to be done in South Africa, it will take 10 days less, meaning that one can obtain a property document at the end of 23 days in South Africa.

However, the case is not the same in Nigeria as the World Bank data stated it takes three months and two days to get the same property documentation.

“Nigeria (Kano) made property registration less transparent by no longer publishing online the fee schedule and the list of documents necessary to register a property,” the report said.

Before the World Bank report was released on Thursday, October 24, 2019, the Lagos State Business Made Easy (BME) document driven by the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) said the new land documentation reform that is technology-driven has simplified the process by making online payments possible, automating procedures, and reducing charges.

“Total time required to register property has reduced from 105 days to 75, and the total number of procedures required to register property has reduced from 12 to 8,” the document read.

But the latest data by the World Bank revealed that Nigeria still requires 12 different procedures to obtain the document for a real estate development. In Ghana, that involves only 5 procedures.

According to the BME document, before the implementation of the title reform, applicants seeking to register a property in Lagos State “were required to pay fees at different stages and carry out visits to the land registry before registration could be completed.”

Further analysis of the World Bank data revealed that while it takes 111 days to get a construction permit in Nigeria, the same papers can be obtained in 155 and 170 days in South Africa and Ghana respectively.

But the document is more expensive in Nigeria than the combined cost in Ghana and South Africa. It cost 27.5 percent of the warehouse value to acquire a construction permit whereas in Ghana and South Africa it each costs 4.6 percent and 2 percent respectively.

“Nigeria (Lagos) made dealing with construction permits less costly by eliminating the Infrastructure Development Charge (IDC, the fee for construction permits) for warehouses,” the World Bank said.

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