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Lagos reviews 2018 Land Use Act, waives penalties for 2017-2019

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Slashes rates, exempts pensioners from payment
Lagos State government has reviewed the 2018 Land Use Charge (LUC) Act, introducing a new law, which lowers the rates as well as exempts pensioners from payment of the charge.

Under the new Act, the definition of pensioners has been expanded to include “all 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 while property owned and occupied by a pensioner is exempted from paying the LUC.

The state’s Commissioner for Finance, Dr. Rabiu Olowo, who disclosed this at a press briefing in Lagos yesterday, said that 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.

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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. The reform also considered multiple Land Use Charge payment channels and efficient customer service management by setting up a call centre (0700 LAGOS LUC) to ensure prompt issue resolution.

“Also, the percentage increase in penalties for defaults in paying LUC has been reduced. In addition to this, there is also a 48 per cent reduction in the yearly charge rates. Agricultural sector has its yearly charge rate for agricultural land reduced from 0.076 per cent to 0.01 per cent. This is an 87 per cent reduction from the old rate.”

Specifically, he said that penalties for Land Use Charge for 2017, 2018 and 2019 had also been waived, adding: “This translates to N5,752,168,411.03 potential revenue waived by the state. In addition to the re-introduction of the 15 per cent early payment discount, an additional COVID-19 incentive of 10 per cent will be granted on the total amount payable.

“The penalty for obstruction of officials and damage to property identification plague has been reduced from N250,000 to N100,000, while the penalty for inciting a person to refuse to pay LUC has been reduced from N250,000 to N100,000. “The 2020 LUC law introduced a 10 per cent and 20 per cent special relief for vacant property and open empty land, respectively.”

He further said that the right of enforcement had been reduced from notification of three default notices to two and profit-oriented cemeteries and burial grounds were no longer exempted from payment of Land Use Charge. Private Libraries are also no longer exempted from paying Land Use Charge.

“An important section I intend to bring to light is Section 14 of the law, which makes it possible for the commissioner to appoint any person, including an occupier of a chargeable property, to be an agent of the owner for the purpose of collecting Land Use Charge. LUC payment can now be made online via https://Lagos.ebs-rcm.com and other platforms,” he said.

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