The Lagos State Government has said that the latest land use charge law, which is currently eliciting reactions from the public, was designed to position Lagos as global business centre with tourist and first class infrastructural appeal.
The state commissioner for information and strategy, Mr Kehinde Bamigbetan revealed on Saturday that the revenue to be derived from the new land use charge regime would be deployed to put in place world class infrastructural developments to further advance business and tourist appeal of the state.
Slight increase in the newly introduced land use charge law, he said is borne out of the state to deliver to the people of the state, first class infrastructural services and position the state as one of the topmost tourist destinations across the globe.
According to Bamigbetan, the state deployed the use of market value to determine the value of property in all the zones in Lagos, on which the new land use charge is based, and before the land use charge was finally signed into law, there was public hearing which held in January, during which different professional bodies and individuals made robust contributions.
“The consensus of the public hearing is now what we have as the land use charge law”, he said.
He said that the law provide that houses are accessed on 60 per cent value and have varied charges based on utilisation.
“Where the house is not rented out, it has low charge, where it is partly rented and commercial purposes also attracts different charges”
The commissioner said that the charges are still low when compared with what is obtainable in other countries of the world, including Chile, UK, Greece, Brazil, Canada, Jamaica, and Iceland among others.
He further explained that 0.07 per cent are charged on owner occupier, 0.256 per cent charged on owner occupier and partly rented apartment and 0.760 per cent charged on commercial property.
He said that the law also allows the house owner to do the assessment himself even as the property owner can contest the charges on his property, adding that judicial infrastructure in Lagos is developed to handle such issues and help property owners get the best services even at the land use charge tribunal or the office of the public defender.
“” Judicial infrastructures in Lagos is developed to assist property owners in Lagos to assert their rights in the Lagos state land use Charge”
He said that the law has provisions for dialogue, provisions for the disabled widows, agenda retires and those occupying government property among other benefits, which include 40 percent waiver on valuation and 15 per cent discount on early payment.
The commissioner further explained that the land use charge rates are determined after applying general relief of 40 per cent, yet ignoring depreciation rate relief, which however does not include commercial property with higher rates.
Also the law is applicable on urban real estate, but varies according to municipality
“it is not just about money, it about posterity we are leaving behind for oncoming generations “he said that the state did not just look at the land use charge, but also looked at motor vehicle administration in the state, adding that a situation where someone who rise in one of the most expensive car, pays the same charge with another person who drives a fairly use old car, is not admissible.
He called the tax law, “progressive taxation”, in which the people that are rich would pay more tax to support infrastructure development.