The Lagos State Government in Western Nigeria has established a tribunal to entertain appeal cases bothering on Land Use Charges.
The State Commissioner for Finance, Mr Mustapha Akinkunmi made this known while addressing the press on land use matters in Ikeja.
Mr Akinkunmi said the tribunal had been manned with seasoned professionals to promptly address people’s complaints.
The Commissioner said this, against the backdrop of complaints from some citizens over multiple payments as he sensitized the people against patronizing touts.
“I will like to appeal to all property owners to stop encouraging such habit. The Land Use Charge is totally automated because we have records of all properties in the state. I would encourage all property owners to go through normal procedure of payments to the government. If you go through any other means whether through back door or any other means, such is at your own risk,” he stressed.
Tough times for defaulters
Dr Akinkunmi maintained that government would not hesitate to seal the properties of defaulting residents as he warned that the state might explore the option of prosecuting defaulters according to the Law.
“Payment of Land Use Charge is a requirement of law and property tax. Defaulters will have their properties sealed and are liable to be prosecuted in court,” Akinkunmi said.
Multiple platforms for payment
He then disclosed that the state government had put in place a variety of payment options, which included paying at the bank or the nearest Land Use Charge offices to residents using cash or POS or payment online through credit or debit cards.
“Tax payers are still entitled to the usual 15% discounted rate if payment is made within 15 days of bill delivery, while others who pay outside the 15 days grace not exceeding 30 calendar days would pay the actual due amount; failure to do that would attract penalty from the 45th day after bill delivery and rise further afterwards,” he explained.
The Commissioner, also clarified the debate on who should be liable to pay Land Use Charge, stating that by law, “the onus falls on land owners/landlords to pay LUC and not the tenants.”
He said percentage payable based on owner-occupied is 0.0394 percent of the value of the property, while the percentage for industrial, educational, residential properties occupied by owners and third parties is 0.132 percent.
According to Dr Akinkunmi, commercial and residential properties occupied by third parties would pay 0.394 percent of the value of the property.
Decline in revenue
While answering questions on the percentage contribution of Land Use Charge to the state’s internally generated revenue (IGR); Dr Akinkunmi said that the sum of N7.41 billion was generated in the year 2014 while there was a decline in 2015 to N6.0 billion representing about 16 percent reduction.