A new bill being passed my see religious institutions pay up.
One of the states in Nigeria, Lagos, is currently working on passing a bill that would see religious centres – mosques and churches, pay taxes in the state.
According to the details of the new law, all religious centres in the state will now be covered by the new law, as the previous law passed in 2001 excluded them.
In Lagos state, the Land Use Charge (LUC) is a consolidation of all property and land-based rates and charges payable under Lands Rates, Neighborhood Improvement Charge and Tenement Rates Laws of the State. It was designed to help the government generate additional revenue needed to develop the state in the light of increasing demand for provision of urban and rural infrastructure and other expenditure.
According to the LUC Law No. 11, of 2001, properties belonging to government or its agencies and others used for public, religious and charitable activities were exempted from these charges. However, this exemption will be cancelled by the new law when passed and signed into law.
At present, the bill titled: “A Bill for A Law To Repeal The Land Use Charge Law 2001 and Enact Land Use Charge 2017 and For Connected Purposes”, has passed its second reading on the floor of the state House Assembly on Thursday, December 28, 2017.
What is the reason for this proposed law?
The Speaker of the state legislative house, Hon. Mudashiru Obasa said the main reason for this new law is to increase the revenue generation in Lagos state. A position that was supported by most members of the assembly.
Mr Obasa further explained that:“on the issue of exemptions, we cannot exempt religious organizations because most of the worship centres are making money.
“For now, We could only exempt Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs).”
The Majority leader of the House, Hon. Sanai Agunbiade also informed the House that the bill would replace the existing law on land use charge, and he added that it was an Executive Bill – initiated by the Governor.
He also stressed that the bill would prohibit application of other relevant laws relating to land use.