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Lagos reviews Land Use Charge, waives N5.6bn penalties

Two years after the implementation of the controversial Lagos Land Use Charge Law 2018, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, yesterday, reviewed the policy and reverted to pre-2018 land use charges era.
The new policy reduces the penalties for defaulters from between 25 and 100 per cent to 10 to 50 per cent. There is also a 48 per cent reduction in the annual charge rates for different properties.
The government has also waived penalties for those who defaulted in payment of land use charge for the years 2017, 2018 and 2019, which, according to the commissioner, translates to a loss of revenue to the state amounting to N5.6 billion.
In the new Land Use Charge policy and unlike in the 2018 LUC Law, pensioners, including 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, their properties are exempted from paying land use charge.
The state Commissioner for Finance, Dr. Rabiu Olowo, while briefing journalists on the development, said that the state government would be upholding the 2018 method of valuation.
He said: “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 the new Land Use Charge Law 2020 is a product of series of stakeholders’ meetings and is designed to accommodate the agitations of Lagosians and reduce the financial pressure on citizens as it relates to Land Use.
“Still on reductions, another major sector that had its charge reduced is agricultural sector, which annual charge rate for agricultural land was reduced from 0.076% to 0.01%. This is an 87% reduction from the old rate,” the commissioner said.
The government further re-introduced the 15 per cent early payment discount which has been increased by a 10 per cent special COVID-19 incentive making it 25 per cent when payment is paid before due date.
He added that profit oriented cemeteries and burial grounds are no longer exempted from payment of Land Use Charge just as the private libraries.
Olowo said: “We have completed the LUC Reform process and review of bills. Property owners should expect to receive their 2020 LUC bills shortly and we expect property owners to leverage on the 25% early payment discount.
“Furthermore, the LUC payment can now be made online. Payment can also be made using USSD Code to any of our designated banks with the appropriate code,” the commissioner said.
He urged any property owners who feel dissatisfied or whose complaint results in a dispute to contact the Lagos State Appeal Tribunal.
It would be recalled that the controversial land use charge was increased under the administration of Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode through the law.
But when the Sanwo-Olu administration took over governance, he promised to redress the situation and effect some reforms.

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