The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry(LCCI), has called on the Lagos State Government to review its recently re-enacted “Land Use Charge Law 2018” until grey areas in the law are resolved. The President of the LCCI, Mr. Babatunde Runsawe, made this statement at the stakeholders’ forum on the law, which brought together key players from the private sector. He commended Governor Akinwunmi Ambode for his openness to dialogue on the issue and reminded the government, that businesses can only thrive in a tax friendly environment. Speaking further Runsawe said some of the concerns in the law are tax rates on the properties that have been reviewed on the high side, ranging from 200% to 500%.
Runsawe tasked the government to widen it property tax net which is currently 300,000 and also made a strong case for the review of the compliance procedure and the timeline for payments. According to him “Some key provisions in the law need to be normalized in the interest of fairness, equity, and natural justice.The entire process also needs to be brought into alignment with democratic norms and ideals”. Also speaking at the forum Mr. Timothy Olawale of the Organized Private Sector said the process of reviewing the law did not meet the least practice in legislative procedure. Assessing the law Mr. Olawale stressed that in the old law there was the provision for the government, to review the applicable law every 5 years. He was of the view that government’s negligence should not be visited on the residents, through astronomical review of the Land Use Charge. On the review of the Land Use Charge, he said any increase above 100% which actually amounts to doubling the current rate is unacceptable.
The Commissioner for Finance Mr. Akinyemi Ashade, FCA in his presentation informed stakeholders that the Land Use Charge 2018 was a consolidation of three tax rates namely; tenement rate, ground rent, and neighborhood improvement, to enhance convenience. Mr. Ashade said the law was due for review since 2001, due to its opaque nature and has been reviewed to a level that is fair to everyone. He said the calculation of the Land Use Charge was market value x relief rate x annual charge rate and was considerate to property owners. The Commissioner also shared that in the new provision there was a help desk and mediation process to resolve any issue that relates to the Land Use Charge.