The recently introduced Land Use Charge in Lagos State has been generating a lot of hues and cries amongst residents of the state due to the over-exaggerated view that it would further significantly aggravate the worries spawned by the current economic depression and make life more brutish and shorter.
Like all new things, there is bound to be the initial furore. Generally, man’s initial response to change is that of resistance but the perception is bound to change if with emerging facts. This is why more concerted efforts are being made to enlighten the public on the features and characteristics of the new law which is being reviewed seventeen years after it was promulgated in 2001.
Though the current incipient efforts at propagating the essence of the Land Use Charge speaks to the issue in a proactive manner by addressing the Frequently Asked Questions, more robust cross-media response is needed to further educate skeptical Lagosians by unveiling and unclothing the myths with facts.
According to a maxim “facts are sacred, comments are free”. One of the basic facts is that the Land Use Charge is a consolidation of all property and land based rates and charges payable under Land Rates, Neighbourhood Improvement Charge and Tenement Rate Laws of Lagos State. It derives its legitimacy from the Lags State Land Use Charge Law 2018. It was well thought out as it was comprehensively debated on the floor of the State House of Assembly before it was passed into law. The responsibility for payment of the Land Use Charge resides primarily with the property owner but there is a provision in the law establishing the charge for payment to be made by the occupier who is then empowered to get reimbursement of the payment made from the property owner.
As a boon, assessment of properties for the purpose of Land Use Charge is free and Property Owners are not expected to make any payment whatsoever for the service provided by the Lagos State Government. Owners of empty plots of land will also pay. Anyone who is disatisfied with the assessment can appeal to the Assessment Appeal Tribunal. Furthermore, those who pay within 15 days of the delivery of the Demand Notice will get a discount of 15 per cent. All property owners are expected to pay their property tax on annual basis but whoever could not afford that can pay monthly. For any two similar properties, the physical appearance, aesthetic features and age will determine the property class rate whether high, medium and low. The categories of properties include Commercial, Industrial, Educational and Residential.
Commercial properties attract a rate 0.761 per cent of the assessed Market Value. Industrial and Educational properties are assessed at the rate of 0.255 per cent. Investment property fully occupied by tenants or third party charged at 0.761 per cent. Instalmental payments are not allowed because of the 15 per cent discount which everybody enjoys.
A promotional video on the LUC has been released and it is a veritable strategy to enlighten the populace. Amiable Governor Ambode blazed the trail by being one of the first set of citizens to pay the Land Use Charge on his property. Inspirational comedian, Gbenga Adeyinka, who has also paid encouraged others to do the same too. An archetypal resident, an elderly man extolled the achievements of the Ambode administration opining that the LUC will augment the funds for greater infrastructural development of the state of aquatic splendor and transformation to a fully fledged mega-city. It is a thing of regret that only a fraction of Lagosians are captured in the tax net. Payment of taxes is a civic responsibility which all and sundry must imbibe to take the state to the next level of governance.