The Lagos State Government said it would commence a new parking levy regime for residents of Lagos from the second quarter of 2023.
Nairametrics understands that the parking levy regime would commence in phases, starting from Ikeja, Lagos Island and Surulere areas of the state.
The General Manager of Lagos State Parking Authority (LASPA), Mrs Adebisi Adelabu disclosed this in Lagos on Thursday in an interaction with journalists. According to her, the new parking levy would affect religious places, event centres, streets, houses on setbacks and other public places.
To ensure the effectiveness of the new regime, she said the agency was partnering with private investors as concessionaires, while other government agencies like the Ministry of Transport, local governments and local council development areas, corporate bodies and individuals. Already, she said the agency was working with major stakeholders in the state to publicise the new regime.
Adelabu explained that the State Government intended to commence the scheme earlier in the year, but its interactions with the public delayed its commencement date.
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But, she assured me that there was no going back on the commencement of the new levy in the second quarter of 2023.
Besides, the LASPA boss explained that the primary aim of the scheme was not for revenue generation as alleged in some quarters, but to bring sanity to the state and ensure it complies with its mega or smart city status.
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She explained that parking is an essential part of addressing the perennial traffic logjam in the state, assuring that the scheme would put an end to indiscriminate parking in most parts of Lagos.
She also insisted that the new tax regime was not tantamount to multiple taxations of the Lagos residents, saying that motorists had been paying fees to faceless persons in the past year without accountability.
She, however, did not specify the ranges of the payments by vehicle owners, religious and event centres, but said the amount of money to be paid would vary from one area to the other, depending on the location.
Adelabu insisted that the law was not new as former Governor Mr Babatunde Fashola, commenced its implementation during his time as the governor of the state, but was relaxed by the succeeding regime.
According to her, the implementation of the tax levy then compelled some religious and event centres to either relocate their activities out of their areas or buy properties close to their centres. She said:
“We want to drive to Lagos where parking space and cost are considered for every inhabitant of the state. Parking is the priority of everyone, including landlords and tenants. Lagos State will get to a stage where houses won’t be taken because of inadequate parking space.
“We have used the last nine months to build an inter-agency relationship. To drive the programme well, concessionaires will be engaged. At least, each concessionaire will employ between 50 to 100 employees. That is another way of creating jobs for the people. We have been sensitizing the public. On-street parking, we will eventually cover all streets and setbacks in the entire state.”
Meanwhile, the planned car parking levy has generated controversies in the past few months.
Speaking to journalists on the issue recently, a trade unionist, Mr Olayinka Abioye, said the government’s policy was dangerous coming at a time when the state, like other parts of the country, is preparing for another general election. Abioye said:
“When I read about this shocking development last week, I laughed out loud that a government that is going into an election must be very careful in order not to foul the already stretched environment. No matter the good intentions thereof, this is not the appropriate time to roll out this law.
“However, I am aware that the government usually engages the people and stakeholders before assenting to policies dished out or suggested by consultants whose only intention is to get their percentage of whatever accrues from such ventures.
“Did this government carry Lagosians along? What was the response of the people, especially home/house owners? What about landlords who do not have cars but whose tenants have vehicles? How many public parks have the government built in any of our communities where vehicle owners can park their vehicles, which will somehow generate revenue for the government and create job opportunities for those who manage such enterprises?”
The president of the Association of Town Planning Consultants of Nigeria (ATOPCON), Muyiwa Adelu, said that parking zones should be maintained.
However, he explained that collecting fees for every available space is not the answer to traffic reduction in the metropolis.
“It is going to cause more problems for the suffering public. The way the state government is going about raising money from everywhere will not help the public. Government should stay within its boundary of collecting necessary statutory taxes and levies.”
He added that car parks and statutory setbacks ought to be maintained by the local governments in their areas.