Fashola Inaugurates Land Use Charge Appeal Tribunal, Wharf Landing Fee Collection Authority
Oct 21, 2009 - Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), Wednesday inaugurated the State’s Land Use Charge Appeal Tribunal and the Wharf Landing Fee Collection Authority with a charge on the members to always follow the part of justice.
The 15-member Land Use Charge Tribunal is headed by Alhaji Mustapha Ademola Kekere-Ekun, while the Landing Fee Collection Authority is chaired by Mr. Ayo Odunlami.
Governor Fashola, who was represented at the Conference Room venue of the inauguration in the Office of the Deputy Governor, by the State’s Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Olasupo Sasore (SAN), said the oath they took at the occasion was a solemn undertaking before God and before men to be fair in all their dealings with the citizenry.
The Governor said both the tribunal and the authority are testimonies of the desire of the administration to follow due process and constitutionality in everything that it does adding that while the tribunal presents an opportunity for the citizens to ventilate their rights, the authority is a matter of due process and transparency in the collection of revenue.
Warning that the members must think first before acting in the discharge of their duties, the Governor warned, “Lagosians know their rights. They will challenge you in the exercise of your duty, but you must always remember the oath to follow the part of Justice. This will guide you in everything you do”,
The Tribunal, the Governor said, is a quasi judicial function that is concerned with dealing with the citizens’ rights adding that it is always important to think first act later and never regret.
Noting that the members of the two bodies were selected through a painstaking process which could only guarantee diligent and hardworking people, Governor Fashola expressed optimism that they would give their best both in handling appeal cases from citizens and collecting the revenue due to the State.
Earlier in his introductory remarks, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Taxation and Revenue, Mr. Ade Ipaye said the Land Use Charge Tribunal came about as a result of the need to adjudicate on appeals coming from citizens who feel aggrieved by the Law, adding that the Land Use Charge Law of 2001 creates room for an appeal.
He said as part of the its effort to make tax administration especially property tax easier in Lagos, the State Government decided, as far back as 2001 to review the situation whereby the same tax was charged on the same property by both State and Local Governments adding that after a meeting between the State and the local governments it was decided that one way of improving the system was to harmonize all property taxes in the State so that there will be a centralized tax system which is cost effective.
“We decided to have a centralized valuation of all properties in Lagos so that we have a common data base and a central collecting authority on Land Use Charge and between the State and Local Governments there will be a sharing formula”, Ipaiye said.
On the need for Wharf Landing Fees Collection Authority, Ipaiye said after a meeting with local governments it was decided that although the fee belongs to local governments it was better to have a central collecting authority instead of subjecting importers to a situation whereby several local governments tax them on the same goods as they pass through their jurisdictions.