From Laide Raheem, Abeokuta
Private school owners under the aegis of the National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPPS) Ogun chapter have decried the newly introduced land use and amenities charges by the state government, describing it as killing and a way to put more burdens on private school operators.
They called on the state government to reverse the new charges.
Addressing newsmen in Abeokuta, the Ogun state capital, the state chairman of the association, Dr. Holumidey Lawrence, further noted that the charges are “obnoxious, undefendable and uncalled-for”, warning that “the introduction of the levy poses a threat to the existence and survival of private schools across the state”.
“Private school owners in the state have been loaded with various levies and the current one now which is the demand by the Ministry of Finance for payment for land use and amenities charge as claimed is seriously affecting our members.
“When you look at this demand notice that is already terrifying our members across the state, it is killing, obnoxious, undefendable, and uncalled-for.
“A situation where an educational institution is to pay land use and amenities charge, running into millions, considering the fact that schools are social service providers, one wonders what amenities that we are enjoying, one wonders, which charge are we paying for, when every school owners are the one drilling our boreholes, providing water for the school community, wherein school owners depend on electricity that is generated from a generator where school owners more often are responsible for the maintenance of access roads to our locations.
“Government should start thinking of how to make life and make the running of our schools easier and more comfortable for us to do, but it appears that this government is putting more burdens on us through this charge named land use and amenities charge.
“We, therefore, plead with the government of the day to come to our aid, we are not confronting the government, neither are we fighting them, but we have right within the ambit of the law, to seek for judicial assistance, but before then, we want to make a strong appeal to his Excellency, Prince Dapo Abiodun, the Ministry of Finance to please allow us to breathe. We can’t breathe anymore”.
“A situation where you ask a school of less than 200 students, just because the school is situated on a property of about six plots of land, to pay N4 milion on land use and amenities charge in a year, how much is the gross income of that school in a year that we will have to pay N4 million? Even if it is N500,000, do we have the capacity with the current trend of the economy in the country and where parents are owning us heavily., We are indebted to our teachers in form of salaries, where we have stocked our future in taking loans from banks with huge interest rates.
“We have come to appeal through you and the general public to help appeal to the Ogun government to give us a respite over issues affecting us as owners of private schools,” Holumidey stated.