Ejiofor Alike and Segun James
As part of the efforts to accommodate the agitations of the residents of Lagos State and reduce their financial pressure as it relates to Land Use Charge, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has waived the penalties for the Land Use Charge for 2017,2018 and 2019.
The state Commissioner for Finance, Dr. Rabiu Olowo, who made this disclosure yesterday, noted that there was an increase in Land Use Charge rate as well as the method of valuation of properties in 2018.
He said in view of the twin shock experienced by property owners, the current administration decided to review the Land Use Charge law by reversing the rate of Land Use Charge to pre-2018 while upholding the 2018 method of valuation.
He said the Land Use Charge reform also considered multiple Land Use Charge payment channels and efficient customer service management by setting up a call centre (0700 LAGOS LUC) in other to ensure prompt issue resolution. He disclosed that that the state government has reviewed the annual rate downward by 48 per cent.
“We considered the Land Use Charge reform very necessary to accommodate the agitations of Lagos residents and reduce the financial pressure on citizens as it relates to Land Use. As you are aware in 2018, there was an increase in Land Use Charge rate as well as the method of valuation of properties, this Twin shock had a sporadic increase in Land Use Charge payable by property owners.
“In view of the aforementioned, the current administration decided to review the Land Use Charge law by reversing the rate of Land Use Charge to pre-2018 while upholding the 2018 method of valuation.” Olowo said that penalties for LUC for the year 2017, 2018 and 2019 have been waived, saying that this translates to N5,752,168,411.03 of potential revenue waived for the three years.
“In addition to the reintroduction of the 15 per cent early payment discount, an additional COVID-19 incentive of 10 per cent will be granted on the total amount payable. This makes the total discount for early payment 25 per cent if payment is made before due date.”
Olowo however warned that the penalty for obstruction of officials and damage to property identification plague still stands even though the charges have been reduced from N250,000 to N100,000.
“The penalty for inciting a person to refuse to pay LUC has been reduced from N250,000 to N100,000. The 2020 LUC Law introduced a 10 per cent and 20 per cent special relief for Vacant properties and Open empty land, respectively,” even as he made it clear that the right of enforcement has been reduced from notification of three default notices to default notices.
He stressed that the 2020 LUC Law has been expanded to include “all retirees from private and public institutions in the state or any person that has attained the age of 60 years and has ceased to be actively engaged in any activity or business for remuneration.” He said that property owned and occupied by a pensioner is exempted from paying LUC.