Akinwumi Ambode, governor of Lagos state, says his administration is ready to dialogue on the land use charge.
The state government recently replaced the land use charge law with a new one.
According to the new law, a property solely occupied by the owner for a residential purpose will be charged at a rate of 0.076 percent per annum.
A property occupied by the owner and tenant(s) or third parties will be charged 0.256 percent per annum, while an investment property fully occupied by tenants or third party(ies) for revenue generation will be charged at 0.76 percent per annum.
However, residents of Lagos have criticised the law, describing the timing as insensitive.
Speaking on Tuesday at a conference tagged: “Lagos Mean Business”, Ambode said his administration did not review the charges to bring hardship on people.
“The law was made in 2001. It provides that every five years, we should review it and also find a way to increase. 15 years after in 2017, the law has never been reviewed,” he said.
“Now, the question is this; those who are having commercial properties, the rental income they were getting in 2002 as against the rental income they are getting in 2017, is it the same? The level of infrastructure that existed in 2002 as against what has happened in the last 15 years, are they the same?
“So, somebody comes and say we have increased by 400 percent. The question is the 400 percent of what? You were paying N10,000 before, now we say you should pay N50,000 and you are calculating and turning statistics upside down by saying it is 400 percent.
“I don’t have to come and meet you if I continue to borrow money, but we are borrowing to punish you ultimately which is not what we want because it is even the taxes you pay that would pay the interest and the principal.”
He said the state has to spend $50 billion within the next five years to bridge the infrastructural gap, which he says the current tax returns cannot fund.
He said only 700,000 people out of the 8 million taxable adults paid taxes.
Donald Duke, former governor of Cross River; Subomi Balogun, founder, First City Monument Bank Group; Jim Ovia, chairman of Zenith Bank; Tony Elumelu, chairman, United Bank for Africa (UBA); and Aliko Dangote, chairman, Dangote Group were some of the dignitaries who attended the event.