Abia Land Use Charge Law 2014, Faulty – NIESV | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Abia Land Use Charge Law 2014, Faulty – NIESV

Posted: Oct 25, 2016 at 1:58 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Nkasiobi Oluikpe

 

Lagos – The Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV) during its Mandatory Continuing Professional Development (MCPD) seminar faulted the Abia State Property and Land Use Charge of 2014 as not being properly articulated.

The seminar which was titled ‘Property and Land Use Charge As a Veritable Source of State Revenue: The Role of Estate Surveyors and Valuers’, held at the Mater Dei Cathedral Hall, Umuahia.

According to NIESV, sections five and seven of the law failed to name who will be the Assessors, adding that the appointment of Assessors in Section five of the law by the chairman, is an open appointment, since the law only said ‘qualified assessors’ without stating who the qualified assessor is.
“The implication of not qualifying the assessors in the law is that any person(s) can be appointed by the Chairman and tagged ‘qualified assessors or consultants’.  It is an undisputed fact that only trained estate surveyors and valuers are qualified to handle such an assignment. Failure to appoint estate surveyors will automatically result in ill-prepared assessment which will mean over-taxation and its effect on property can only be imagined.”
On Section 7, they said the law only provides for the rate payable annually on each type of property without any hint on the methods or procedure(s) to determine the assessed value. “This means that the so-called qualified assessors or consultants can come up with any figure, which can be called, assessed property value without any basis.
“By failing to state the method, the lawmakers (who enacted the said law), were trying to avoid the several criticisms and pitfalls associated with the Lagos State Land Use Charge Law 2001 from which they copied.
“Land-based taxes usually have clear basis and defined methods of assessment which allows for verification and objection, thus the Abia State Property and Land Use Charge Law 2014 cannot be said to be properly articulated.”
A member of the NIESV Registration Board and Head of the Department of Estate Management, Imo State University, Owerri, Prof Joachim Onyike inferred that following the dwindling federal revenue allocations, many states turned to land-based tax and Land Use Charge as a major way to improve their internally generated revenue (IGR).
Subsequently, the Don said the Abia State passed the Property and Land Use Charge Law in 2014 to enable her take advantage of this new source of revenue and concluded that application of the law will surely improve the revenue of Abia State, provided estate surveyors and valuers are engaged to correctly determine the taxable values of landed property as well as assist other professionals in the Assessment Appeal Tribunals to settle appeals from aggrieved taxpayers.
“Estate surveyors and valuers will also help aggrieved taxpayers make better appeals thereby cutting down in the number of frivolous appeals even as senior valuers will take advantage of the exercise to train younger ones in valuation thereby improving the human capital of Abia State and Nigeria.”
Jude Arukwe, NIESV Abia State chapter chairman, on his part noted that the forum was aimed at highlighting the role of estate surveyors and valuers in the assessment and implementation of the said law and how the body would also increase public confidence in the administration of the tax.

Speaking further Aruke remarked that estate surveyors and valuers are involved in the management of most properties and the issue of prescribing values to property is the constitutional prerogative of estate surveyors and valuers as contained in the relevant laws establishing the profession.
“We have always received petitions and asked questions from many property owners in Aba and Umuahia on the fairness or otherwise of the charge on the demand notices sent to them because, the public knows us as custodians of property values in the country. We have therefore carefully chosen this topic to emphasize our role in this exercise and sincere intention to collaborate with the state government in its drive to increase her internally generated revenue through property and land use charge regime, especially in the present economic realities.
“We are, as a matter of fact, willing and ready to partner with government in this direction and would continue to look inwards as a branch of a professional body on how we can assist our host government to increase her IGR at all times.”
Tony Ururuka, a former commissioner in the state and an estate surveyor urged the state government to amend the said law while the incumbent lands commissioner, Uche Ihediwa, represented by a Director in his ministry, Sylvester Ibeleme concurred.