In its bid to increase the revenue base of the state, the Lagos State House of Assembly has mooted a review of the current land use charges.
The bill to actualize the amendment went through the second reading at plenary.
The bill titled “A Bill for a law to repeal the land use charge law 2001 and enact land use charge 2017 and for connected purposes.”
The Speaker of the assembly, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, condemned the existing situation where a few consultants working with the state government collect land use charges.
He said: “We need more consultants to do the job, so that the entire state could be covered in the collection. A tribunal would be set-up to deal with offenders, with the support of the state government.”
“On the issue of exemptions, we cannot exempt religious organisations, because most of the worship centers are making money. We can only exempt Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs).”
Earlier, the Majority Leader of the House, Hon. Sanai Agunbiade, explained that the Bill would repeal the existing law on land use charge.He added that it would prohibit the application of other relevant laws relating to land use.
Also, the Deputy Speaker, Mr. Wasiu Eshinlokun-Sanni, restated that the bill would help to increase the revenue of the state.
In also supporting the bill, Hon. Gbolahan Yishawu urge provisions to be made for the approval of the assembly, especially in enforcing the collection of the charges.
He lamented that only about 300,000 houses are paying land use charges in a state with about two million houses.
The Lagos State Land Use Charge (LUC) is a consolidation of all property and land based rates and charges payable under Lands Rates, Neighborhood Improvement Charge and Tenement Rates Laws of Lagos State.
The Land Use Charge derives its legitimacy from the Land Use Charge Law No. 11, of 2001. It was designed to help the government generate additional revenue needed to develop the state in the light of increasing demand for provision of urban and rural infrastructure and other expenditure
The modus operandi of the law has generated controversies over the years and some residents of Lagos are still confused as to what the land use charge is really about. Properties that are exempted from the operation of the law are:
- Government-owned properties.
- Other properties used for public, religious and charitable activities Non-Governmental Organization (NGOs).
However, this exemption will only be granted where an application for exemption is made to the State Commissioner for Finance.