Months ahead are going to be tough for landlords and property owners in Lagos State, Nigeria’s economic hub, as the government, driven by the desire to shore up revenues, will be engaging the services of experts to bring an estimated one million homes said to be evading the payment of Land Use charge, into the tax net.
An official of the state government told BusinessDay on Monday that there was going to be “no hiding place” for any property owner. “It is either you comply with the law or the law falls on you. “No hiding place,” the official said.
The move is to aid new target of N30 billion monthly internally generated revenue (IGR), which, according to the government, is aimed at attaining zero dependence on federal allocations to fund the state’s annual budget.
The government last month announced new revenue targets of N30 billion monthly IGR in 2017 and N50 billion in 2018, as against the current figure of N24 billion. It also proposed to raise its yearly budgetary expenditure to N1 trillion in 2018.
The state’s annual budget for this fiscal year is N662.588 billion. According to Steve Ayorinde, commissioner for information and strategy, the 2016 budget is being funded 70 percent from IGR, while transfers from the federation account contribute insignificantly and the target is to possibly reduce it to zero within the next two years.
“We will use technology in our revenue generation drive, particularly, as it affects the Land Use charge. Land is the gold of Lagos State and, therefore, it is important for the state to capture those properties yet to be captured,” he said.
According to Ayorinde, an estimated 2 million homes in the state, but less than a million of them have been paying the Land Use charge. He said the state government would engage the services of experts to capture all those that were yet to key into its tax drive so as to attain IGR targets.