Posted by News Express | 6 April 2016 | 2,522 times
The Governor of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, on Tuesday said never will his administration base the execution of its programme on allocations from federal revenues allocations again.
The Governor, at the signing into law of the Osun State Land Use Charge Law at the Executive Chambers of the Governor’s Office in Osogbo, stated that previous and present administrations had so much relied on the allocation that when the oil glut came, it could no longer pay salaries and other critical expenditure of government.
Aregbesola held that the state has learnt a lot of lessons from the situation where it had to go cap-in-hand to the Federal Government for the allocation that can no longer take care of the primary need of the state.
He described a situation that suggests that the state cannot be self-sufficient in the light of the human and material endowments on the state by God as an insult, saying looking inward for progressing the state has now become a must.
The main objective of the newly signed Law, he explained, is to generate additional revenue and also the provision for a single property charge which replaces all other State and Local Governments taxes on real property, including taxes like tenement rates, ground rents and neighbourhood improvement charges.
Aregbesola pointed out at the law signing ceremony that the aim of the new law is to do away with multiple rates, increase efficiency in collection and avoid discriminatory and arbitrary application of property based levies and charges.
He said: “As you are all aware, governments at all levels have been under severe financial assault for some time. This is as a result of a precipitous fall in revenues from the federation account.
“We are here facing formidable challenges in paying salaries and meeting other critical expenditure of government. This is because we have been programmed to live day-by- day on allocation from the federation account.
“The lesson we are taking from the situation is that living on other people’s bakery is never reliable. It is high time we started to bake our own cake by ourselves, if we don’t want to starve.
“It is even an insult to suggest that we cannot be self-sufficient, in light of the human and material endowments it has pleased the Almighty God to bestow on our land. One of these is land. Land is of great value where there are humans because it is the primal resource. We live, work and derive other resources from land.
“This is why we, as a government, have decided to make law that will also benefit government from part of what the people derive from land. This is the basis of the Land Use Charge Law.”
The Governor held that part of the attraction of the law is safeguarding people from abuse and arbitrariness. He notied that a chargee under the law, on receipt of an assessment, can make a formal complaint to the Commissioner for Finance on high assessment and that it should be reduced.
He added that such chargee also has the right to file an appeal against the assessment to the Assessment Appeal Tribunal on the precondition that the chargee pays 50 per cent of the amount assessed and the fees that would be prescribed by the Appeal Tribunal for the filing of the appeal.
Governor Aregbesola said the new law is predicated on the principle of mutual delegation of authority between the State Government and each of the local government areas in the state.
According to him, “By this new legislation called the Land Use Charge Law, once the Land Use Charge is imposed upon a property, the rates and charges which were hitherto payable under the old legislations will no longer be applicable and due on the same property.
“The Local Government Authority in the jurisdiction/locality where the property is situated is the authorised collecting authority, but in order for there to be compliance with the constitutional requirements on the division of powers between the states and the local governments, this new law is predicated on the principle of mutual delegation of authority between the State Government of Osun and each of the local government areas in the state.
“The new Land Use Charge Law will also boost job creation in the sstate because between valuation and assessment and between revision and collection, we see thousands of people being employed.
“With the implementation of this law, there will be an accelerated development in many areas of the state's economy because the multiplier effect of this new development is that by the time the owners pay property tax on their property that has been lying fallow, they will be forced to find economic use for it and in the process thousands of other unemployed youths will be gainfully engaged.”
Governor Aregbesola who attributed the new law to what he regarded as a direct instrument to boost the state revenues however disclosed that the implementation and enforcement of the new law would except some institutions like religious bodies, public utilities, traditional grounds, non-profit making organisations and so on.
“It is noteworthy that this law is a piece of legislation with human face with its Section 8 devoted to the class of people exempted from its ambit – the poor, religious bodies, public utilities, traditional grounds, non-profit making organisations among others,” he said.
Aregbesola therefore sought for collective supports from all and sundry, urging the people to ensure total compliance on the new development in order to move the state forward.
“I implore us all as citizens of this great state, in furtherance of our collective resolve to move our state forward by enhancing the frontiers of our economic independence, to join hands with the Government to make the State of Osun Land Use Charge Law work,” he stated.
•Photo shows Governor Aregbesola.
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