THE Federal Government has said that plans were on ground to establish National Land Depository, a huge ICT-backed infrastructure, to enable land investment and integration of various registries in Nigeria.

The Minister of Power Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, disclosed this in Abuja on Tuesday at the 25th Annual Conference of Directors of Lands in Federal and State Ministries, Department and Agencies.

Fashola, represented by Minister of State II, Alhaji Mustapha Shehuri, noted that the land depository would enable prospective investors to make quick decisions regarding property investment prospect in the country.

The minister also said that the ministry was working assiduously to strengthen the Federal Land Registry for online transactions in line with global best practice.

“The results of some of these reforms of the Federal Government in this and other respects are responsible for the improvement of the country’s Ease of Doing Business (EODB) ranking,’’ he said.

He recalled that with effect from January 1, 2017, Exchange of Letters (EOL) had become the sole instrument of transfer of interests in land between the Federal and State Governments that have not.

“I will implore you to key in and forward the EOL document to the ministry for execution and return for other processes.’’

Fashola also noted that the implementation of the International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPAS) had commenced in Nigeria.

‘’IPAS is a new accounting reporting standard, approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) in 2010 with January. 1, 2016, the commencement date is targeted at full and transparent disclosure of government financial records.

“As the repository and managers of these public assets, you have major professional role to play in their inventorisation and valuation.’’

The minister assured that the ministry had processed over 1,500 secondary transactions on Federal Government lands nationwide, adding that they had been impacting on the economy.

According to the minister, the ministry is also working hard to title over 2,000 lands, thus empowering the holders to raise investible funds to establish new and grow existing businesses.

He noted that property registration was one of the 13 criteria set by the World Bank for determining the competitiveness to investors.

Fashola stressed the need for concerted effort, to ensure modernised land registry and improve on the country’s EODB ranking which measured its competitiveness to investors.

In a keynote address, Rev. Olurotimi Onabanjo, the Chairman of the conference, said the National Land Policy was formatted in 2014 to provide framework for organised and sustainable deployment of land.

He emphasised that the document had attained advanced stage, adding that it would soon be reviewed, tested and validated by stakeholders, including the director’s forum.

Speaking on Land Use Act, he noted that effort to overcome inherent operational complexities and lapses in the act had proved difficult to amend, due to the cumbersome requirement of 1999 Constitution.

He noted that a compendium of regulations that would facilitate and improve land administration was developed by the Presidential Technical Committee on Land Reform (PTCLR) in 2012 with the support of stakeholders.

“The regulations were recently approved by the National Economic Council and would soon be presented to FEC for approval by the National Council of States,’’ he said.

He said the conference, aimed at improving land administration in Nigeria, was held last in Ilorin in 2008 due to no budget line.

Onabanjo said that the break was also due to funding constraints which inhibited the Federal and state governments which had earlier committed to the conference.

“The 10-year break has inflicted tremendous setback on the conference and numerous capacity and skills building benefits accruable.’’

The Two-day conference with the theme “Effective Land Governance for National Economic Growth and Development ’’ is a peer review platform to develop requisite skills for effective management of public lands.