The move by Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State to eliminate cases of multiple taxes on property in the state received a boost on Monday as he inaugurated a 10-man Land Use Charge Assessment and Appeal Tribunal.
The tribunal is a platform for property owners in the state to seek redress over disparities in property assessment charges and other related matters.
Swearing in members of the tribunal chaired by Barrister Chigozie Nnadi, Gov. Ugwuanyi said the occasion was consistent with the vision to consolidate the state’s reputation as one of the most investor-friendly states in the country, describing it as a giant step towards easing the tax burden of property owners.
The governor added that the tribunal was also necessitated by complaints from property owners about the multiplicity of taxes on their lands and landed property.
According to him, “there have been stringent complaints that local governments and agencies of state government impose all manners of taxes, rates and levies on land and landed property.
“In response to these complaints, the Enugu State House of Assembly in September 2016 passed into law the Land Use Charge Law. This was amended in 2017, thus consolidating all property, land use rates and charges payable under the Property Rates Law, Local Government Law and assessment law in Enugu State into a new Land Use Charge to be called Land Use Charge”.
He noted that the new law has ended the era of multiple taxes on property in the state, saying: “Property owners in the state will no longer receive varieties of demand notices on their property. Instead, they will receive and pay a single charge on their property.”
He also explained that by streamlining the hitherto haphazard levies on property, the Land Use Charge will help boost the internally-generated revenue of both the state government and participating local government councils.
The state’s Chief Judge, Honourable Justice Priscilla Emehelu commended Governor Ugwuanyi for performing a very important aspect of the Enugu State Land Use Act and in choosing members who have distinguished themselves in various endeavours.
She explained that the tribunal have the powers to summon anyone to appear before it, adding that the state’s judiciary would next week commence training workshops for members of the tribunal to ensure they are “grounded and well prepared in line with the law”.
Justice Emehelu also pointed out that adequate sensitization was essential for the goals behind the tribunal’s inauguration to be actualized.
Responding on behalf of the members after their inauguration, Barrister Nnadi thanked the governor for giving them the opportunity to offer their service and promised that the tribunal will discharge its duties with a sense of fairness and justice.
“We are aware that this task is enormous, but we will do our best to make you proud. We’re convinced that this is a show of commitment which you have always demonstrated in your conviction to offer good governance to the people of Enugu State,” she said.