Lagos: Ambode makes U-turn, reduces Land Use Charge

The Lagos State Governor Akinwunmi Ambode on Thursday bowed to pressure from Lagosians by shifting its position on the amended Land Use Charge Law. In a press briefing at the Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre, Alausa, Ikeja, attended by top state executives, Commissioner for Finance, Akinyemi Ashade, said the reverse in the position of the state government was occasioned by the fact that Governor Ambode had a listening ear and is a man who’s sensitive to the plight and yearnings of the people. Conversely, in the review, commercial charges have been cut by 50 percent, there’s a reduction of charges for owner-occupier with 3rd party including industries and manufacturing concerns by 25 percent. Also, the state government has waived the penalty for late payments across board. Tax credits would equally be given for Land Use Charges already paid, and there’s the introduction of instalment payment system, all enshrined in the new arrangement. Ashade said, “The Lagos state government, in its desire to build world class infrastructure and improve the well-being of its citizens, reviewed the Land Use Charges payable by all property owners. This exercise was received with mixed feelings by various interest groups who expressed serious concerns. “In line with this administration’s tradition of inclusive governance and civic engagement, and as a government that is committed to the welfare of its citizens and understands the importance of continuously engaging the populace, we undertook extensive dialogue with various stakeholders on the Land Use Charge revised Law and its implementation. “Consequently, we received a wide range of responses from our dialogue with various stakeholders on the amended LUC Law 2018. The stakeholders included the Organised Private Sector, Nigerian Bar Association, Real Estate investors and developers, Landlord & Resident Associations, Community Development Associations, Civil Society Organisations, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industries (LCCI), Nigeria Institute of Estate Surveyors and Valuers and several other professional groups. “These various interactions formed the subject of extensive deliberations at the meeting of the Lagos State Executive Council on Wednesday, March 14, 2018. “The Lagos State Executive Council chaired by His Excellency, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, therefore resolved as follows: Commercial Property owners, who are undoubtedly the stakeholders mostly impacted by this amended Law will be granted 50 percent discount. This means a commercial property valued at N20 million which was earlier billed N91,200 will now pay N45,600 per annum. “Secondly, property occupied by owner and third party and property used for Industrial and manufacturing purposes: These categories of property will now enjoy 25 percent discount. This means that a N20 million property expected to pay N30,720 will now pay N23,040 per annum. “Thirdly, owner-occupied property: This category of property will enjoy 15 percent discount. For a N20 million property, this used to be N9,120. Now, it is N7,752 per annum.The penalty regime for late payment of LUC has been waived completely. Therefore, LUC payers who have received their bills will no longer be penalised for late payment of bills issued in 2018, thereby providing additional relief to LUC payers. .o. I He added that other rates and reliefs, apart from the ones stated above, will remain unchanged and will be implemented as stipulated by the Law. These include 40 percent general relief, 10 percent for 70 years and above, 10 percent for properties owned by persons living with disability and 10 percent for properties that are 25 years old. He said owners of property across all categories will now be allowed to make payments by instalments. This, he stressed, will help to reduce the burden of taxation on the citizens. He appreciated and commended property owners of all categories who had performed their civic duties faithfully by paying the LUC. “Consequently, as a result of these new measures, those who have paid the original amount will be awarded tax credits to the extent of the excess amount paid and carried forward to next year. It is our fervent desire to ensure that we empower every property owner with the self-assessment provisions of the law. Therefore, we shall forward to the Lagos State House of Assembly for review and passage the following regulations: a) The Regulation for review of applicable rates and regime of reliefs on Categories of Properties pursuant to LUC Law. b)The Regulation for a framework for self-assessment “We implore all stakeholders to participate effectively in the legislative proceedings and sincerely appreciate them for trusting the current administration with the responsibility of investing the revenue from LUC in infrastructure renewal and overall development of our state. We will continue to make your tax work for you,” he added.