Following the introduction of a new Land Use Charge Law by the Lagos State Government and its subsequent review by the governor following the severe criticism that it generated, Tunde Ajaja writes about the fresh round of concerns that seem to be trailing the reduction
Out of the torrent of issues that have generated so much reaction, criticism and condemnation in Lagos State in the recent past, there was hardly anyone that could match the response that greeted the recent increment of the land use charge by the state government.
The state government had repealed the Land Use Charge Law 2001 and replaced it with the Land Use Charge Law 2018. But given the rate of increase and the serious backlash that trailed the action, the state government on Thursday announced the reduction of the charge.
The government also said there would be no more penalty for late payment and that payment could now be made by instalments.
But fresh reactions that have trailed the announcement point to the question as to whether the governor has the power to reduce a rate that had been set by the Act of the House of Assembly and signed into law by the governor.
The Chairman, Victoria Garden City Property Owners and Residents Association, Mr. Olusegun Ladega, said the governor had only exercised his discretion and that for the reduction to be permanent, the law needed to go back to the House of Assembly for amendment.
He said the governor had simply granted a discount for the current year and that it wasn’t backed by the law.
Ladega, who is also the Vice Chairman, Lekki Estates Residents and Stakeholders Association, which is a coalition of all residents associations along the Lekki-Epe Axis of the state, from the 1004 Estate to Epe, said, “The governor has announced the reduction, but it is a reduction that he has simply just applied his discretion. It’s not backed by the law. He’s overriding the law that the state House of Assembly has made, which he has signed.
“Unless he’s going to apply such reduction again next year, it means that regardless of whatever we pay this year, that law still remains. So, this act of discretion or concession for now appears to be a one-off response.
“For there to be a permanent reduction and for it to be seen as something that would be continuous, it has to go back to the state House of Assembly and then the law would now accommodate those discounts or concession.
When asked about the position of his members to the reduction, he said LERSA executive members would meet to take a position on the matter. There would be a meeting of the executive of the main association (LERSA) tomorrow. It’s after the meeting that I would be able to communicate our official position. Read more