The Lagos State Government has said that it is ready for dialogue on the proposed land use charge, which has drawn flaks from the public.
Akinwunmi Ambode, the Lagos State governor disclosed this Tuesday in Lagos at a business parley, Lagos Means Business. He said government would welcome complaints of dissatisfied members of the public and treat them accordingly.
He appealed to residents to embrace the land use charges and ensure that commercial property owners pay the charges.
He noted that the reviewed land use charge has been misunderstood and misrepresented in different mediums, and that the over 400% increase being impressed on residents does not amount much when calculated, adding that average payment would be from N5,000 to any amount depending on the value of the property.
For example, he said a property valued at N100 million would attract a maximum charge of about N50,000.
“The good part of the arguments trailing the Lagos land use charge is that the State Government is ready for dialogue,” adding that business owners paying land use charge should see it as part of their corporate social responsibilities.’’
The governor explained that pensioners, NGOs, churches and mosques are exempted from the payment of the charge, while owner occupiers would pay paltry sum.
He therefore appealed to Lagos residents and the business community to help government transform Lagos to Africa’s model megacity by paying their taxes.
“If the vision of a prosperous Lagos is to be achieved, the state must refrain from borrowing to finance its infrastructure with attendant high interest rate.’’
Ambode assured every Lagosians that he would make their taxes work for them with a transparent and incorruptible government with good value for taxes paid.
He also urged citizens to have a change of orientation on how government’s properties were handled.
“The properties should be protected so that resources expended on repairs could be channeled to other areas of needs.’’ Although the state spends a large chunk of its revenue on recurrent charges, but could not retrench civil servant.
“They are only about 103,000 taking care of 24 million people. They help to keep the social fabric together,’’ he said.
Africa’s richest business mogul, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, at the forum described Lagos as the most convenient and peaceful state for doing business.
“I am not advertising for Lagos, but try another state, you will see hell,’’ he said in a terse remark at the forum. He also supported Ambode’s appeal to Lagos residents and business community to continue to pay tax.
“You should pay your taxes to Lagos state,’’ Dangote said.