In line with the excessive outpouring of public outrage that has trailed the Lagos State’s new land use charge law, the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria has called on Governor Akinwunmi Ambode to reverse the law in order to ensure the survival of the manufacturing industry
MAN’s president, Dr Frank Jacobs who made the plea on Tuesday while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos, said the sharp increase in the land use charge will increase the cost of production and in turn increase the prices of finished goods in the market which will, in turn, affect the consumers; Lagosians. He also stated that manufacturers in the state are already burdened with other issues, and therefore called against compounding the problem.
The new charges can make our locally produced commodities to be too expensive compared to imported products.
“The new charge negates the Federal Government’s initiatives for the spread of locally manufacturing companies in the country.-Frank Jacobs
Recall that the Lagos State Government recently repealed its 2001 land use act and replaced it with a new one in a bid to raise its internally generated revenue (IGR). It also gave Lagosians till Saturday, April 14, 2018, to pay their annual land use charge in line with the new charges.
Meanwhile, in its defence, the Government on Tuesday informed stakeholders of its readiness for dialogue. Governor Akinwunmi Ambode made this known while speaking to the Organised Private Sector at the Lagos Means Business forum which was organised by the state Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives. According to him, the Lagos new land use charge is intended for the best interest of Lagosians, not to overburden them.
Trying further to justify the action which many Lagosians have decried, the governor said that the law was enacted back in 2001, with a provision to review it in five-year intervals. But the law had never been reviewed since then till now despite the economic indices that have changed in the past fifteen years.
The law was made in 2001. It provides that every five years, we should review the charges and also find a way to increase. The law was never reviewed 15 years after until in 2017. Now, the question is this; those who are having commercial properties, the rental income they were getting in 2002 as against the rental income they were getting in 2017, is it the same?
The level of infrastructure that existed in 2002 as against what has happened in the last 15 years, are they the same? Did it not come at a cost? So, why is the market value of the property that you built with N1m 15 years after, you are selling at N20m. Why do you think somebody who is a buyer will pay N20m for it? Is it not because of the facilities around the property? So, we have to sacrifice; that is how it works everywhere.
So, somebody comes and say we have increased (the charges) by 400 per cent. The question is 400 per cent of what? You were paying N10,000 before, now we say you should pay N50,000 and you are calculating and turning statistics upside down by saying it is 400 per cent.-Governor Akinwunmi Ambode