Why we reviewed Land Use Charge law – LASG

Kehinde Bamigbetan

Kehinde Bamigbetan, Commissioner, Information and Strategy

Kehinde Bamigbetan

By Kazeem Ugbodaga

The Lagos State Government said it reviewed the Land Use Charge, LUC, law because the taxes being collected on properties were not at par with current realities and the need to aggressively fund infrastructural development across the state.

Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Kehinde Bamigbetan at a meeting with newsmen on Saturday said if government was to realized its dream for Lagos, money was needed to drive the vision and that such money could only be gotten through taxation, one of which was the LUC.

He said what government did was to look at the laws that had been in existence for years and had not been reviewed and tried to review them to be at par with modern realities, which was why the LUC was reviewed.

Bamigbetan explained that the funds to be generated from the increase in the land use charges would be put to proper use, saying that many of projects embarked upon were financed with funds generated from short-term loans and bonds, adding that government had come to realise that it was not sustainable in the long-run.

According to him, the vision of government was to bring the state to par with some of the best cities in the world, but that money was required to put the infrastructures in place, adding that the state required as much as N180 billion to rehabilitate classrooms and that N20 billion of that amount was released last year.

Bamigbetan stated that if the government was thinking in the short-term, it would not stir the hornet’s nest by increasing the land use charge, stressing that government believed that difficult choices had to be made now to guarantee a better future the government was working towards for the state.

Related News

He emphasized that the LUC law aimed to tax the rich more and protect the poor, as the higher the value of one’s property, the higher the charge, noting that the law protected property owners as those who lived alone in their property would pay little, while commercial properties would have to pay more according to market value of such property.

“We have to use the market value of land to determine what you pay. If you are to sell your building today, how much will you sell it? The LUC bill went into the House of Assembly and a public hearing was held. The consensus is what we now have as the Land Use Charge,” he said.

Bamigbetan said government was not ruling out the possibility of dialogue as the governor said last week, adding that under the LUC law, pensioners, churches, mosques and NGOs would not pay the charge, while widows would also enjoy some reliefs provided for in the law.

The commissioner appealed to the media to see the big picture of the LUC law and not the small picture, saying that if government had wanted to think like politicians, it would not implement the law now, but that government was thinking about the future and as statesmen.

He said the bigger picture was a vision of a better Lagos that would benchmark with London, Paris, Los Angeles, among others, adding that if government must deliver a better future for Lagos, “we need to go back to the people to ask for more.”