“The repossessed land has been returned to the city’s land bank,” said Deputy Mayo Takele Uma, while presenting last fiscal year’s report to the city council.

Addis Abeba City Administration has reclaimed land plots covering a total of 41ha “illegally” possessed by real estate developers.

The move from the city’s Land Management & Development Bureau followed the housing and real estate audit that was launched this year and conducted for the past five months. Composed of eight members and chaired by a representative from the Office of the Mayor, the audit team kicked off operations last December.

It audited 139 real estate developers, which have leased land from the City Administration since 2005. The audit aimed at making sure whether the lands were utilised for the appropriate purpose or not.

Finalised recently, the audit discovered lands that were illegally seized by developers and housing units that were not delivered to the home buyers for an extended period of time.

“The repossessed land has been returned to the city’s land bank,” said Deputy Mayo Takele Uma, while presenting last fiscal year’s report to the city council.

Along with the repossessed land, the City Administration made the real estate developers deliver 732 delayed housing units to the home buyers.

“The housing units weren’t transferred to the home buyers on time because of the City Administration’s failures and real estate developers’ ‘greediness’,” Takele said.

The audit also discovered 1,743 housing units built by four real estate firms and transferred to home buyers that do not have title deeds. The City Administration passed a decision to grant title deeds to the home buyers. Out of the total houses, 472 of them were built by Ayat Real Estate S.C, one of the pioneer real state firms.

“We’ve started giving the title deeds to homeowners,” said Beyene Lambiso, director of land lease follow-up and revenue collection. “We expect all of them to receive the documents within two months.”

The country has around 630 real estate investment companies with a registered investment capital of 3.5 billion Br. In the last decade, the real estate industry contributed 12.5pc to domestic growth. Incomes generated by the real estate market have also been growing at an average rate of 14.1pc annually.

The audit on the lands that were taken for investment has also discovered that over 25,000 plots that cover a total of 600ha of land remained undeveloped. In response to this, last year the City Administration repossessed undeveloped land from 95 companies, 18 diplomatic missions and 11 government institutions totaling 1.3 million square metres.

Yiheyis Mitiku, a lecturer of land management at the Kotebe Metropolitan University, appreciates the City Administration’s actions.

“Repossessing the land is not enough,” he said. “The lands should be used to improve the life of the city’s residents.”

Yiheyis recommends that the City Administration review the land resource usage policy and perform extensive research on the land and housing problems of the city.

“Before giving the land to a real estate firm, the Administration should check whether the firm is capable or not and follow up on them at every stage,” he added.

Asmelash G.Geziabher, deputy director of Ayat Real Estate Firm S.C, told Fortune he knows nothing of the issue.

PUBLISHED ON Aug 17,2019 [ VOL 20 , NO 1007]

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