Representatives of Ijapo Estate Landlords Association, real estate practitioners, others have asked for reduction in the proposed from N25, 000 levy on residential premises.
Plans by the Ondo State government to commence implementation of Land Use Charge to shore up its internal generated revenue have been applauded by the representatives of landlords/property owners, who agreed that the payment of taxes and rates must be made reasonable, affordable and consider the financial capability of the people.
This was part of the consensus reached at the second phase of stakeholders’ meeting on operation of Land Use Charge in the state, recently in Akure. Infact the speakers at the meeting includes, Olujigba of Ijigba, Oba Luyi Rotimi, Chairman, Ijapo Estate Landlords Association, Bankole Eke, a real estate practitioner, Dr. Dele Afolabi and former Speaker Ondo State House of Assembly, Kenneth Olawale asked for reduction in the proposed from N25, 000 levy on residential premises.
The landlords, mostly traditional rulers and eminent citizens that attended the forum, urged the state government to shift attention to other areas rather than putting heavy taxation on the people through the Lands Use Charge.
Addressing the gathering, Commissioner for Finance, Yele Ogundipe said the government was considering the act that people must be part of decision-making process towards implanting the new charge in the state hence the need for the consultation meeting.
It is going to be flat charge of N25, 000 for non-commercial residence but landlord of a house used for commercial purposes will have to pay more. The State Government took into consideration, the sizes of buildings (bungalow, mansion) in the state but decided that it would be a flat rate for all sizes to eliminate the issue of discretion and corruption in the system.
“It was also for the purpose of blocking IGR linkage. People have been issued notices in the past and implementation should have started and as responsible government we have decided that we ought to carry along our people before implementation begins.
“You voted us in because you believe in our ability to administer. We do not want to take you for granted and that is why we are holding this consultation so that people can be part of the decision to implement the Land Use Charge,” he said.READ ALSO – Certificate of Occupancy: How to process it successfully
The Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budgeting, Akin Adaramola, solicited the support of the people, saying the state government would not implement any policy without properly consulting the people of the state.
“We should not see government as different from the people. Whatever misconception about programme of the people, which is only being implemented government, should be tabled for discussion so appropriate decision can be taken on it.
“Because of economic situation in the country, the state government is almost becoming distressed, saying if government pretends that it has the resources to meet the needs of the people, it would be a misconception.
“Apart from the fact that the crude oil we depend on is dying up, there is no way any government can meet the needs of the people and that is why it needs the cooperation of the populace to raise necessary revenue to be able to carry, fulfill its responsibilities to the people,” Adaramola said.
Akinsehinwa, in his keynote address earlier, appreciated the people for their cooperation with the government, which according to him has helped “to move this State forward and to enjoin us to fulfill our civic responsibilities so that the state can continue to give us dividend of good governance.
“At the state level, we will continue to engage all and sundry to support government efforts in bringing the dividend of good governance to our people. And as citizen, we must show commitment to the performance of our civil responsibility of tax payment if our state is to progress.
“Land Use Charge is not new as many of us assumed; it is just a change of nomenclature to consolidate all the defunct charges such as Tenement Rate, ground Rent and Neighbourhood Charge. This was to address the complaint of multiple taxation on landed properties.
“The N25, 000 charge is far less than the amount that many property owners have been paying in the past on only Tenement Rate. It is also fair since everyone will know exactly what they should pay and thereby avoid any agent of government defrauding property owners.
“Tax is necessary, tax is compulsory, tax is a global best practice of law-abiding citizens and it is the dependable option to develop our dear state in the face of dwindling petrodollar income from oil to the nation.
“Taxes are what we use to invest in infrastructure so that our generation can leave better and the coming generation leave better than us. The charge has been designed such that landlord pays less than N100 per day.”
Meanwhile, the State’s Board of Internal Revenue (OSBIR) has warned residents, who are fond of assaulting tax administrators to desist from such criminal acts or risk strict legal sanctions by the law courts.
The chairman of the board, Akinsehinwa gave the warning at this year’s prayer meeting with the management and staff in Akure, saying the state government will not take it slightly with those tax defaulters.