African Roundup -- Money Troubles, Land Solutions
Zimbabwe knows inflation, Nigeria knows a way out
One government admits people consider its currency worthless while another wants users of public land to pay the public, a partial application of geonomics. These 2009 articles are from the BBC of Jan 29 on money and AllAfrica Global Media of Jan 26 on land by Yinka Kolawole.
by BBC and by Yinka Kolawole
Zimbabwe abandons its currency
BBC southern Africa correspondent Peter Biles says the Zimbabwean dollar has become a laughing stock. A Z$100 trillion note was recently introduced.
So acting Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa announced Zimbabweans will be allowed to conduct business in other currencies, alongside the Zimbabwe dollar, in an effort to stem the country's runaway inflation.
Until now only licensed businesses could accept foreign currencies, although it was common practice.
Mr Chinamasa made the announcement as he delivered the budget to parliament.
"In line with the prevailing practices by the general public, government is therefore allowing the use of multiple foreign currencies for business transactions alongside the Zimbabwean dollar," he said.
JJS: Government need not debase the national currency, causing inflation. Instead of issuing too much new money, government can recover the values that society generates, as it does by its presence and growth. Those are the values that society bestows on favored locations, a stream of revenue that any government would be wise to soak up.
Nigeria: Ogun Hikes Land Charges to Boost Revenue
The Ogun State government is set to cash in on upsurge of property development in the state, owing to congestion in Lagos, to boost its dwindling internally generated revenue by increasing the cost of acquiring land and other related charges.
The influx of real estate developers to the state, especially along the Lagos Ogun corridor, has seen Ogun State rising to a prominent player in cosmopolitan property development.
Director_General, Ogun State Bureau of Lands and Survey, Mr. Gbenga Ogunnoiki, at a recent forum in Abeokuta, the State capital, noted that the government was ready to take advantage of the development to significantly shore up its revenue base.
Some of the steps to be taken, according to him, include: increasing the main cost of acquiring land in the state, and implementing the newly introduced land charges -- Special Infrastructural Levy and Neighborhood Improvement Charge.
"A comprehensive review of ground rent to make it more economic and competitive is also proposed for early 2009. Furthermore, ground rent defaulters will be penalized and made to pay monetary fines, calculated on approved rates.
"All outstanding land charges and related fees on allocation, Certificate of Occupancy, Governor's Consent etc. are to be paid within a specified time period failing which such fees will attract interest on a daily basis.
"Government reserves the right to withdraw offer of allocation of land unconditionally where the fees or any part thereof outstanding are not settled within 30 days.
This has taken effect from January 1, 2009," he stated.Ogunnoiki further disclosed that the bureau would host a real estate forum in February to provide a platform for articulating and coordinating private sector engagement with the state in achieving key projects under the mega city development goal. He noted that this is to help mobilize private sector participation in the spirit and letter of the public-private partnership.
He said that the bureau, under its 2009 action plan, will also ensure prohibition of transfer to third parties of undeveloped plots within government estates until at least three years after the grant of C-of -O, noting however, that exceptions will be allowed on specified terms, which include but not limited to the payment of a penalty not less than 30 per cent of the open market of the plots.
"All plots of land within government schemes that have not been fully developed by their owners are to be recovered. The Bureau of Lands and Survey has embarked on the compilation of all undeveloped plots in its estates to give effect to this government directive. These include the Presidential Hilltop, Olokemeji, Ojere, Ibara Housing estates etc.," Ogunnoiki stated.
According to him, another major project for the bureau in the new year is the recertification of land titles, following the inauguration of its Geographic Information System laboratory last year, noting that the essence of the exercise entailed the exchange of former C-of-Os, deeds of conveyance, lease, sublease, among others for new computerized C-of-Os embedded with overt and covert security features.
He noted that since the new C-of-O was database driven, confirmation, analysis, searches and investigations would become easier, prompt, and accurate.
Jeffery J. Smith runs the Forum on Geonomics.
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