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Lagos Government Bows To Pressure, Slashes Land Use Charge

The Lagos State government yesterday announced a 50 per cent downward review for commercial properties and other waivers on the Land Use Charge (LUC) it introduced last month.

This followed the public outcry against the law.

THE NEW RATES AFTER REVIEW:
•Commercial property 50%
•Owner-occupied/tenant 25%
•Purely residential 15%
•General relief 40%
•Persons above 70 10%
•PLWD above 25 years 10%

Commissioner for Finance Akinyemi Ashade announced the reduction at a media briefing in Alausa, Ikeja, the state capital.

He said the review of the amended LUC Law 2018, which was received with mixed feelings, followed widespread dialogue with stakeholders, such as the organised private sector (OPS), the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), real estate investors and developers, landlords and residents’ associations, community development associations, civil society organisations (CSOs), Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industries (LCCI), Nigeria Institute of Estate Surveyors and Valuers as well as several other professional groups.

Ashade said: “As a government that is committed to the welfare of its citizens and which understands the importance of continuously engaging the populace, the Lagos State government took this important decision for the good of the people.”

Giving a breakdown of the review, the commissioner said commercial property owners would be granted 50 per cent discount.

This means a commercial property valued at N20 million, which was earlier billed N91,200, will attract N45,600 per annum.

For properties occupied by the owner and a third party, and properties used for industrial and manufacturing purposes, a 25 per cent discount applies.

This means a N20 million property, which was expected to pay N30,720 before the review, will pay N23,040 per annum.

Also, owner-occupied properties will now enjoy 15 per cent discount; meaning that a N20 million property, which was previously charged N9,120, will now pay N7,752 per annum.

Ashade said the penalty regime for late payment of LUC had been removed, hinting that the new relief also accommodates flexible payment by instalments to reduce the burden of taxation on residents.

The commissioner said other rates and reliefs would remain unchanged and be implemented as stipulated in the law.

These include the 40 per cent general relief; 10 per cent discount for persons of 70 years and above; 10 per cent for properties owned by persons living with disability and 10 per cent for properties that are 25 years old.

Ashade said due to the new measures, those who have paid the original amount will be awarded tax credits to the extent of the excess amount paid and carried to next year.

Ashade said: “We appreciate you for trusting the current administration with the responsibility of investing the revenue from LUC in infrastructure renewal and overall development of our state. We promise we will continue to make your tax work for you.”

According to The Nation, the Executive Director of the Centre for Public Accountability (CPA), Femi Lawson, hailed the Akinwunmi Ambode administration for listening to the people.

He said: “This review shows a government that shares in the pains and concerns of the citizens of this state. Not only did they listen to our agitations but also took action to allay our fears and worries by bringing the LUC rates down and introducing some other tax burden relief measures. This is surely a pro-people government.”

A real estate investor, Thomas Aderinola said the downward review of the amended LUC was an indication that the state government listens.

He praised the government for introducing some other waivers, such as payment by instalment and the newly set up “People’s Tribunal” to resolve LUC payment cases.

Aderinola added: “With developments like these, we will be happy to show our commitment to the growth of Lagos by paying our taxes as at when due.”

Lagos State Sports Council Director-General Babatunde Bank-Anthony urged Lagosians to be wary of people hoping to score a cheap political point with the Land Use Charge.

At a meeting of the Strike Team at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Bank-Anthony said anyone above 65 years is not expected to pay the Land Use Charge.

He added: “The Land Use Charge is not for anybody above 65 years – landlord or tenant. It is for those who have commercial property. Don’t let anybody deceive you.”