Relief for property owners as Lagos returns to pre-2018 LUC rate - BUSINESSDAY
….targets additional 1m tax payers annually
Business and property owners can look to a relief from the 2018 arbitrary hike in the Lagos Land Use Charge (LUC) rate, as the state government is returning to the pre-2018 rate.
The implication of this is that owners of property across the state who are still contending with the hiked rate, will have the opportunity to pay what obtained pre-2018.
The immediate past administration of Akinwunmi Ambode, had increased the LUC rate by between 200 and 500 percent, hinging it on the need to shore up internally generated revenue (IGR), in order to bridge wide infrastructure gap in the state.
The increase had thrown up controversy and pitched the Ambode’s government against the society, with members of the Organised Private Sector (OPS), property owners and the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Ikeja chapter, protesting and dubbing the government insensitive.
But speaking on Wednesday at a ministerial briefing to mark first year in office of the Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s administration, the commissioner for finance, Rabiu Olowo, said the current government was reversing the LUC to its pre-2018 rate.
According to Olowo, the new reform in the LUC being undertaken by the Sanwo-Olu administration became necessary to accommodate continued agitations of Lagosians and to reduce the finance pressure on the citizens.
“As we are aware in 2018, there was an increase in the LUC rate as well as revaluation of properties. This twin shock had a sporadic increase in the LUC assessment. The reviewed reform reversed the rate to the pre-2018 rate, however, 2018 valuation was upheld.”
The commissioner added that the state government would soon commence the implementation of the pre-2018 LUC rate.
He noted that the reform by the current administration has taken into consideration a flexible LUC payments and efficient customer service management in order to ensure prompt issue resolution.
The commissioner, who, however, decried the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the finances of the state, said that the government was equally working to bring additional one million tax payers in the tax net annually.
This, he said, would be achieved by the introduction of more flexible e-payment platforms as well as extension of greater support to Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) and the informal to enable them fulfill their tax obligations to the government.
It would be recalled that the past administration, bowing to pressure to reverse the controversial LUC hike later sent the law back to the state House of Assembly for a review but it lingered in the legislative chamber until Ambode exited government in 2019.
A six-man ad hoc committee of house, which was chaired by Rotimi Olowo, subsequently caused amendments to some ‘obnoxious’ sections of the LUC law by expunging controversial areas in response to the public outcry against the law, but the implementation never took any serious effect.