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Stakeholders Differ over Inclusion of Religious Institutions in Land Use Charge

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Stakeholders and Professional bodies have differed on the inclusion of religion bodies in the Osun Land Use Charge.

Osun state House of Assembly on Tuesday organized a public hearing on the introduction of land charge in order to increase the internally generated revenue of the state.

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Presenting its paper, the state Ministry of Lands, Physical Planning and Urban Development, said the new charge is a good idea and will go a long way at enhancing the internally generated revenue of government.

Speaking on behalf of the ministry, the Permanent Secretary, Architect Wale Ojo, stressed that some organizations should be exempted from the charge.

Quoting section 8(1) law of the federal republic of Nigeria, he said, “a property owned and occupied by a religious body and used exclusively for public worship or religious education, cemeteries and burial ground, a certified Non Governmental Organization and Motherless Babies Home, exempted property by government in the gazette and all palaces should be exempted.

He also quoted Decree 24 of 1975, now Cap E. 13 LFN 2007 as saying that only Estate Surveyor and Valuer can determine the value of all description of property assets, both movable and unmovable.

But, some contributors objected to the exclusion of religious organizations especially religious schools and institutions.

A lecturer from Obafemi Awolowo University, Professor Bioye Tajudeen, stressed that religious universities should pay land charge.

The university dons who is also a member Nigerian Institute of Surveyors was of the opinion that those that should be exempted are the old ones who could hardly eat two times in a day.

The state governor, Mr Rauf Aregbesola, who was represented by his deputy, Mrs Titilayo Laoye-Tomori, appealed to the people of the state to coorporate with the government and pay tax, saying that government is also looking into how to generate money from mineral resources and tourism.

Aregbesola said the developmental projects of the government have facilitated increase in the value of property in the state, saying, it is the responsibility of the property owners to reciprocate by paying appropriate charges.

According to her, there is the need for all stakeholders to support the government in harnessing potentials that could assist in the generation of revenue for further development of the state.

He further stated that the state needed to look inward boost its Internally Generated Revenue to augment its Federal allocation.

Earlier in his welcome address, the speaker, Rt Hon Najeem Salaam, said that the bill would help in increasing the IGR of the state it was passed into law.

Salaam who said that the lawmakers organized the public hearing to give the people of the state the opportunity to have inputs into the law-making also assured that every contribution would be given adequate consideration.

Those that submitted papers include: Nigerian Institution of Surveyors, ministry of Lands, Physical Planning and Urban Development, Nigerian Institute of Town Planners, Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV), among others.

The bill is seeking for a law to make provision for the consolidation of all Property and Land-based Rates and Charges payable under the Land Rate Law, the Neighbourhood Improvement Charge Law and Tenement rates Law in the state.

It is seeking to incorporate the proposed law into a new Land-based charge, to be called Property Land Use charge to make provision for the levying and collection of the charge and for connected purposes.

The bill has passed through the second reading before the parliament.

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