The Enugu State House of Assembly’s Joint Committee on Works and Lands, Local Government, Environmental Management and Judiciary, on Wednesday, organised a public hearing in Enugu, on Land Use Charge Bill.
The Speaker of the House, Chief Edward Ubosi, while declaring the event open, said that the essence of the public hearing was to create a room for non-law-makers to participate in making a bill that would eventually become a law.
He said that the House would place a premium on the bill, which was why four committees were brought together to work on the bill.
The Speaker urged the members and non-members to make honest and professional inputs on the bill.
The Chairman of the joint committee, Hon. Iloabuchi Aniagu, Nkanu West, said that the amendment bill which had been in existence intended to reduce the multiple taxation on the land use act and to increase the internally generated Revenue (IGR) of the government.
Aniagu explained that the Assembly had considered the bill debatable on its merits and found it necessary to invite the public to make input for the best repositioning of the law.
He said that the proceeds from the bill would be shared equally between the state and local government, adding that the participants should submit their pleadings to the Assembly, within 48 hours to enable them work on it.
The law-maker said that it was the state’s desire to eliminate double taxation and increase the IGR of the state.
In his contribution, Dr. Ike Ozigbo, Head of Department Estate Management University of Nigeria, Nsukka, expressed his happiness on the bill adding that greater per cent of the proceeds from the bill should be given to local government as most land belong to the local government.
While reacting to the bill, the Chairman, Nigeria institute of Estate Surveyors and Valuers Enugu State branch, Mr. Comas Eze, recommended that an assessor should be defined to be a person well versed and legally qualified in the art and science of property valuation.
Eze said that the assessed valuation list should be displayed at conspicuous places at the Ministry of Lands and Urban Development and all local government headquarters in the state for at least 30 days to elicit possible objections before sending demand notice to property owners.
He said that notice of such display should be announced in electronic and print media to create awareness.
The Chairman said that the assessment tribunals should consist of sufficient number of persons qualified to be assessors.
According to him, undeveloped land not in use should not attract any land use charge, adding that the definition of some terms in the bill needed to be further fine-tuned to avoid ambiguity in their interpretation.