•GM, LASPPA, KEHINDE OSINAIKE
• Reveals How To Get A Planning Permit In 10 Days
Many of the big property developers in Lagos know about LASPPA. They also know about the GM of the agency, Mr. Kehinde Osinaike. A couple of weeks ago, City People Magazine held it’s annual, City People Real Estate Award. It had in attendance, some of the sector’s biggest players. In attendance also were executives of government agencies involved in the Built sector.
One of them is the tall and handsome Mr. Kehinde Osinaike, GM, Lagos State Physical Planning Permit Authority. He was invited to come interact with some of the industry’s most active players present at the event. He addressed the audience for about half an hour. Below are excerpts of his powerful speech.
“It’s my pleasure to be here. My name is Kehinde Osinaike, GM, Lagos State Physical Planning Permit Authority. We are one of the regulators in the Built environment. I want to start this address by asking City People, particularly the Chief Organizer if this hall has a planning permit. You know we are regulating a very delicate sector. After Food it’s Shelter. And from this part of the world, the dream of every one of us is to have shelter over our heads, that we can call home. But this dream will only be actualized if you have the statutory planning permits otherwise, this tall man standing before you will be chasing you everywhere, if possible give you a letter of contravention or seal up that site, until the needful is done. And if I think that dream is not in consonance with the extant law of that place appropriate steps will then be taken. What do I mean? You know we have different plans. We have a Master Plan, we have District Plan, a layout etc. If some of that extant law is being infringed on, then I have to bring the bulldozer to bring the place down. Why? For the safety of everybody.
In the Built environment, what is germaine is Safety. And for us as a Regulator whenever we are putting our plans together, we have to adhere strictly to that regulation, otherwise, we won’t allow you to actualize your dream home.
We also have a sister agency called Lagos State Building Control Agency. Their primary assignment is to stage-manage the level of the construction up to habitation.
Without wasting some of our time, I will quickly go through some of our requirements to enable you to get building plans.
I want us to be very very attentive. Before you commit your hard-earned revenue or money to any real estate property, it’s important to find out the status of that property. Not every area in Lagos is buildable. Not every area you can put that event centre for commercial use. There are some areas exclusively reserved for residential, same for commercial, and industrial. But over time, we discover that people aren’t following these simple rules. Before you commit your money to that real estate find out the status of that land. Is it acquired land? Is it a committed acquisition? If it’s a committed acquisition, that means the government has a specific use for that land. Please, don’t allow the so-called Omoonile to deceive you that after a while the government will look the other side. We are not going to look the other side. We would come after you. Of recent, we have discovered that over 70 percent of existing buildings in Lagos are either without planning permits or they deviated from that planning permit. My advice before you do anything kindly approach any of our Town Planning offices. We have district offices scattered all over the state. At the last count, we have 42 offices and we are going to create more because Mr. Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwoolu who’s doing well in Lagos in terms of infrastructure has been magnanimous enough to create more offices. Why? So that people can have easy access to Town Planning offices. In case you live in Ikorodu, for instance, you don’t have to come to Ikeja to process your panning permits. So if you have a survey, for instance, you can bring it to our office, and take that survey there. Let them do what they call charting. They will determine if that land is free or not. Thereafter you can now commission your architect to do a design for you. Before when you approach our office, we would have informed you about the height and the type of structure you can have on the site. What are permissible heights, use, and what are the setbacks?
The usual complaint of people is that the planning permit process takes a very long time. Yes, that was in the past. Ever since the beginning of this administration of Babajide Sanwo-Olu, we have reduced that to 10 working days to complete our process. Anybody can take me on, on this!
I will tell you the causes of the delay. One, payment of Tax. Tax is a civic responsibility of everybody all over the globe, and Lagos State is not an exception. For instance, somebody wants to build a 10-story building in Banana Island, Ikoyi and he’s paying as low as 500 thousand naira as his income Tax every year. That will be inadequate. Some of you are not Tax compliant and you are not paying your Tax or you are shortchanging the government, we are not going to release that approval to you. Though, within that working day, we are going to conclude our process and inform you that your approval is ready for collection but until you are cleared with LIRS.
One other delay is that people use a third party, the so-called agent. Some of these agents are touts. They are only interested in collecting your money. I have seen a situation where the developer has given the agent everything but because the agent still wants to get more money and he starts telling the developer they want this, they want that. We have to see the GM. The file is on his table and he won’t sign it if we don’t see him.
Be wary of agents when dealing with us. They delay your application to get more money from you and that’s a fact. Don’t let anybody tell you that your file is on his table. As we speak, you can go and check you won’t find any file on my table. I’m challenging people on that. Every file that came to my office as at Friday has been cleared. And any file that will come to my table will be tomorrow because I have to sign all applications, except the ones above 6 floors and that has to go to the permanent secretary or Honorable commissioner and above 10 floor has to go to Mr. Governor.
I’m not saying we shouldn’t engage third-party because as a developer you are engaged with other things but you have to be careful they are telling the right story. They are only interested in getting more money from you.
Another cause of delay is inadequate documentation. We are procedural people. There are things to be done before we can give you approval. For instance, if you are building a house in the Lekki phase, it is mandatory that you get clearance for that scheme and they must authorize you to commence that processing, in form of a clearance letter.
Second, you must also obtain a letter from the land bureau because of the fact that you are carrying an allocation that probably has been revoked in one way or another and you are still believing you are the original allottee.
Another cause of delay is underpayment. If at the district office, for instance, you find your way to lobby them to reduce your assessment in one way or the other, I will discover that when it gets to my table and send the file back for underpayment. And sometimes the developers lobby our officers to reduce government fees. Please let’s desist from that.
Let me tell you what’s happening now. Over density. Over height. Like I said before, in some parts of the state we have height discretion, meaning that you can’t go above 6, or 7 floors. But because people want to maximize their return on that investment, they will add more floors than the permissible floors.