The new Lagos Land Use Charge is unlocking valuation jobs for estate surveyors and valuers as government begins its implementation. DAYO AYEYEMI reports
In what could be described as sweetness out of a bitter cola, the New Lagos Land Use Charge is throwing up valuation jobs for professional estate surveyors in the state.
To determine the fee payable as taxes by landlords or their representatives under the new land use charge, New Telegraph gathered that the values of property/houses, whether residential or commercial, must be first determined and correctly assessed by estate surveyors and valuers.
The estate surveyors are expected to hit the ground running as from this week till August to determine and carry out valuation of houses within the state.
At the end of the exercise, they are expected to submit their reports to the Land Use Charge office in the Lagos State Ministry of Finance.
According to an official of the state government, who claimed anonymity, two estate surveyors firms, Knight Frank and Ishmael and Partners, have been contracted for the exercise, which will engage other 110 estate surveyors.
“We told them to go back to their institute and get others,” an official in the Lagos State Ministry of Finance said.
Lagos, a heavily populated city and the commercial capital of Nigeria as at 2013, is said to have 4.75 million houses, according to a former Commissioner for Housing in the state, Mr Bosun Jeje.
Vice Chairman, Lagos branch of the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers, Mr Dotun Bamgbola, said he had little to say for now until the executives of the institute meets with members this week to take position on the issue.
He said that the institute had more than 112 member-firm, wondering how the government arrived at its figures.
“There is nothing much to say now, we are going to consider the issue at the institute’s meeting next week, take decision and make our position known to govrnment,” he said.
Real estate developers, who are major investors and practitioners, have continued to express mixed reactions about the new property tax.
They argued that the new property tax would discourage investment at a time many houses are still begging for occupation in the metropolis.
In a swift reaction, government said that a lot of discounts had been granted to owner-occupier homes in the new LUC, while rates on commercial property were also minimal.
For any resident in doubt, a government source said that the Land Use Charge law provided for self-assessment, by calling on estate surveyor to help determine your house value and assessment.
So, from both government and residents, the new Land Use Charge has opened job opportunities for over 100 estate surveyors and valuers.
According to a former President, International Federation of Real Estate, Nigeria Chapter, Chief Kola Akomolede, it is wrong for government to base an annual tax on capital value of a property.
Rather, he said that it should be on the income being generated on the property per year.
He explained that in other climes, property tax is based on annual income (rent) from such property, rather than income on the entire value of the asset.
The Estate Surveyors and Valuers Registration Board (ESVARBON) has been in existence for over 38 years and was established by Decree No. 24 of 1975 now Cap. E13 LFN 2007.
The law setting up the board empowered it to regulate the practice of estate surveying and valuation in all its aspects and ramifications through the country, with the specific powers to determine who are estate surveyors and valuers.
As stipulated by the law, only estate surveyors and valuers are qualified to carry our valuation exercise in Nigeria.
It would be recalled that the Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, had kicked-off payment for the new Land Use Charge in the state.
The governor enjoined residents to join him by courageously making a decision for prosperity and pay all their due taxes, assuring that with their full support, there has been an evidence that every kobo paid in taxes has been productively utilised in infrastructural renewal and development of the state in the last two and a half years.
The new Land Use Charge Law (LUCL) 2018, which applies to real and landed property in the state, seeks to consolidate all property and land-based rates/charges into a single property charge and set modalities for levying and collection of land use charge in the state.
The charge, which is to be collected along with tenement rates by local government authorities, is now based on the capital values of properties rather than rental income.
In another interview with this newspaper, Adegbola argued that the state government should not use the same formula for residential and commercial property.
“The formula should be transparent to everybody and residents should know how they are being assessed,” he said.
Efforts must be made towards ensuring that the new land use charge presents a win-win situation for both government and real estate investors.
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