Lagos Landlords Lament As Government Increases Land Use Charge

Lagos Landlords Lament As Government Increases Land Use Charge

Nigeria News takes a look at the increased Land Use Charge in Lagos, which will definitely have a ripple effect on tenants.

Tenants in Lagos will soon move out to boundary towns of Ogun State as the ripple effects of increased Land Use Charge take effect on them.

The last few months have seen landlords complaining over the outrageous bills from the state government. Those who paid about N68, 000 last year will now be paying about N150, 000.

Before now, many Lagos tenants had moved to boundary towns of Sango Ota, Mowe, Ibafo, Magboro and Warewa in Ogun State due to the various demolition of shanties and illegal structures by the immediate administration of Mr Babatunde Fashola.

Many traders and store owners left Lagos during Fashola’s regime. Most of them now do their trade in neighbouring Ogun state.

No doubt, Lagos Megacity project is gradually becoming a reality. The state is wearing a new look every day, except for the filthiness caused by the heaps of refuse on the roads. This is being taken care of.

However, the new policy of high Land Use Charge is a fresh pain Lagosians will have to bear now. This is one regulation that will affect whosoever lives in Lagos. While landlords have been crying loudly, the new charge has sent jittery to millions of tenants whose rents will consequently increase.

Most Nigerians are unemployed and those who have jobs are underemployed. At present, the cost of living as a tenant in Lagos is far higher than being a landlord. Most workers spend their annual saving to pay rent to landlords who have refused to comply with the state tenancy laws.

The state government has failed to effectively implement the tenancy laws, which stipulate a year rent advance payable by the tenant to his landlord.

Landlords still collect two-year-rent, making life so difficult for average tenant. Now that the Land Use Charge has outrageously increased, what the government has failed to address is the ripple effect on many of the workers, including civil servants whose salaries are not increased that will bear the brunt.

Commenting on this, Lagos State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Kehinde Bamigbetan posited that the new land use charge rates are designed to blend with the reality of the economy today.

He said it is guarded by the principle of progressive taxation. “The more you make, the more you pay. They are also guided by the principle of protecting the vulnerable. That is why reliefs are granted to pensioners, owner-occupiers, retirees, religious or charity organisations and traditional palaces.

To him, it is the most transparent taxation law because it provides for self-assessment and empowers to approach the tribunals if you think you were assessed more than you must pay.

These provisions should guide those trying to start a campaign against compliance with the legitimate and legal demand to contribute to development. It is legitimate because the law was passed by the elected representatives of the citizens of Lagos sitting in the House of Assembly mandated to make laws for the good governance of the state. It is legal because it has been signed into law as an instrument of authority. The presumption is that every citizen has enjoyed the right to ventilate opinions on its desirability or otherwise during the consideration of the bill and its eventual passage meant that the outcome is the voice of the majority. It would amount to bad sportsmanship to seek to lord your own opinion on the citizenry. This is the reason why the law makes it an offence to mobilise the public to disobedience.

As democrats, it is important to use every opportunity to identify when to intervene in the making of a legislation. Certainly, the best time is when the law is being developed and debated by the lawmakers. Not after it has been passed into law.

Our administration will continue to engage all dissenters with a view to convincing them that our policies are motivated by the genuine interests of the good people of Lagos State, Bamigbetan said.