Contrary to published media reports on the relationship between Alpha Beta Consulting and the controversial Lagos State law on Land Use Charge (LUC), the former has revealed that it has no contract with the Lagos State government in execution of the state’s newly-introduced land use law.
The disclaimer is coming as tempers flare among Lagosians over the new rates for land use and the claim that Alpha Beta, a private firm, had been specifically favoured by the law as a potential consultant to be engaged in verification of land use payments to state coffers.
The company’s Deputy Managing Director, Bode Oluyemi, in a statement recently, noted: “We would like to state that our company, Alpha Beta Consulting, is not involved in the collection and administration of the Land Use Charge of Lagos State. Although we do business with the state as we do with other individuals and organisations that require our services, LUC collection and/or administration is not part of our brief,” he added.
The Lagos House of Assembly, while owning up to the mistake noted that Alpha Beta was erroneously written into the state law.
“It was a very costly mistake that should not have happened,” Tunde Braimoh, a spokesperson for the Lagos State House, told newsmen by telephone Wednesday afternoon. “It was erroneously put in the draft copy of the law and we’re already working to remove it completely.
“Alpha Beta or any other designated person(s) or corporate body who has the responsibility of monitoring the incoming revenue of the state through the collecting banks, shall provide a report to the Accountant General of the State,” according to a section of the proposed Lagos State Land Use Charge Act 2018 said.
The spokesman promised that Alpha Beta would be removed from the law within three weeks. He also said the new land use law, which is a revision of a 2001 law, has not been signed into law. But it was later learnt that Governor Akinwunmi Ambode had given his assent to it since February. Residents across the state are also reporting on social media that they have started receiving notification about the new tariffs.
Akinyemi Ashade, Commissioner for Finance, Lagos State noted recently in Lagos that the Land Use Charge had been trending for the wrong reasons recently, only that instead of paying three different taxes, the tax payer pays just one consolidated tax.
According to him, “Land Use Charge is not new in Lagos, neither has it been arbitrarily introduced to the state. Rather, it emanated from a long process of deliberation, consultation and engagement, all of which typically precede law-making. Indeed, implementation of this particular tax was sequel to the passage of the Land Use Charge Law of 2001 as promulgated by the Lagos State House of Assembly.
The law has, therefore, been operational since 2001. Its stipulations are also fairly simple. It essentially applies to defined categories of properties, which are in turn required to pay taxes that vary in accordance with the categories,” he said.