•As property market is saturated
The new Lagos state Land Use Charge Law 2018 known as LUC, has continued to generate concern and criticism from citizens, particularly stakeholders in housing provision.
And one of them who could not hide his anger over the Law and its provisions at the weekend when he briefed property journalists on the consequences of Law in his Idiroko office, Lagos, is the Chief Executive Officer of Omais Investment Limited, a Lagos-based real estate development firm,
Aisagbonhi who noted that there was no stakeholders’ input in the Law before its announcement by the state government, said the increase in the LUC means increase in rents for tenants, some of whom cannot even pay their current rents, adding that some developers are out of business because of the economic of the country.
Describing the announcement of the LUC by Lagos state government as irresponsible, he asked if the state government says tax payment is an obligation of the citizens, what is the obligation of the government to its citizenry, pointing out that he single handed the construction of the road leading to his office.
Omais boss who stated that the timing of the Law is wrong, inappropriate and inconsiderate considering the current hardship in the country, “The LUC is coming at a time when Nigerians are finding it difficult to meet basic needs of life. For me as a landlord, what this law means is for me to increase my house rent. But how can you do that to a tenant who is finding it very hard to survive if you don’t want him to die?
‘’The law is coming at a time the property market is saturated with many empty houses that cannot find buyers or tenants because of bad economy in the country. The Law is not only punitive but also insensitive in both provision and implementation’’, Aisagbonhi said.
Fuming that the state government said it had discounted some of the rates by 50 per cent, he noted that the government should be talking of downward review of the new rates and not discount.
According to him, ‘’The 50 percent is deceptive because this does not mean downward review of the charge rate. What the government has done is to postpone 100 percent implementation of the charge rate because the discount is a temporary measure aimed to douse tension. Who says they cannot reintroduce the 100 percent charge rate next year?
“What we want is downward review of the charge rate, not 50 percent discount”, he emphasized, noting that what the government needed to do in the face of the mounting concerns and spreading agitation was to “revert to the old rate and start discussion with the people towards implementing the law next year”.
‘’The government is in a hurry to implement the law now. Let the government delay it till next year. In climes, government alone would not take decision on an issue as sensitive as property tax which affects property owners as much as tenants. Landlords would naturally transfer any increase in tax on their property to the tenants and these are government workers whose salaries or housing allowances have not been increased in the last 10 years, and business men whose businesses are closing up on daily basis”, Omais boss stated.