Lagos state government has been urged to stay the implementation of the new Land Use Charge (LUC) for at least a year until proper consultation and sensitisation is done.
The Chief Executive Officer, Omais Homes, Mr.Â Omochiere Aisagbonhi stated this during a chat with journalists recently. He said the 50 per cent reduction the government announced recently was deceptive and would not assuage the pain the charge would inflict on property owners in Lagos.
He explained that, â€œthis does not mean downward review of the charge rate. What the government has done is to postpone 100 per cent implementation of the charge rate because the discount is a temporary measure aimed to douse tension; who says they cannot reintroduce the 100 per cent charge rate next year?
â€œWhat we want is downward review of the charge rate, not 50 per cent discount. They should revert to the old rate and start discussion with the people towards implementing the law next year.â€
He wondered why the government was in a hurry to implement the law now instead of delaying it till next year, stating that in other countries the government usually does due diligence before introducing taxes.
According to Aisagbonhi, the law is repressive and that it was insensitive to introduce it now that the property market was slow with many buildings remaining unoccupied and that about 70 per cent of most commercial property was empty.
He said, â€œThe LUC is coming at a time when Nigerians are finding it difficult to meet basic needs of life. For me as a landlord, what this law means is for me to increase my house rent.â€
He said it would be unreasonable to pass the charge to a tenant who is finding it very difficult to survive, particularly those that owe backlog rent because of poor business environment.
Most landlords, he said would naturally pass any increase in tax on their property to their tenants, noting that â€œthese (tenants) are government workers whose salaries or housing allowances have not been increased in the last 10 years, and businessmen whose businesses are closing down on daily basis.â€