House owners in Osun have expressed their displeasure over what they described as “outrageous” Land Use charges by the state government.
Some of the landlords told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Osogbo that the Land Use charge was “unnecessary and ill-time, owning to the ranging Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic that had negatively impact on people’s economy in the state.
They also complained that the idea of the state government taxing people on their land and even back dating it to 2018 was uncalled for and shows insensitivity of the state government.
Commenting, Mr Oyinade Ayorinde, a landlord in Ile-Ife, said the Land Use charge was brought to his house without a prior estimation of the building.
Ayorinde, who noted that the sum of N29, 000 was given to him for 2019 and 2020, wondered how the State Internal Revenue Service arrived at the amount.
“The revenue people did not enter into my compound, neither do they have any conversation with anybody before bringing the charges.
“In fact, my gate is always under locked and keyed whenever we go to the office and nobody will be left behind.
“How do they arrived at the amount is what I don’t know,’’ Ayorinde said.
He, however, said that landlords were ready to support the state government, in as much as the government on its part, was ready to be sincere in the estimation.
Another aggrieved landlord in Ilesa, Pastor Isaiah Olaitan, who told NAN that the charges was outrageous said: “When I returned from office last Thursday, I met a paper in my compound.
“But on reading through the paper, I discovered that it a was a bill of about #14,000 for three years of 2018, 2019 and 2020.
“Surprisingly, the charges contained the 2018 when the present administration has not come to power.
“How can the state government billed people of Osun in retrospective, when Gov. Adegboyega Oyetola himself could not pay his state workers all the outstanding salaries he inherited from former Gov. Rauf Aregbesola?”
Also, another landlord in Ilesa, Mr Jide Ibilola, said a bill of 2018, 2019 and 2020 was delivered at his door step by some people believed to be agents working for the state revenue service.
Ibilola said in spite of the fact that no bill was brought to his house the two previous years, he was asked to pay for the arrears.
He wondered how the state government came about the sum of N13,000 bill dropped at his gate, without prior estimation of the building.
Ibilola said that at this period when people were still battling with the negative effects of the economy, government should have suspended implementation of the charges until the economy improves.
In her reactions, a landlady in Osogbo, the state capital, Mrs Temitope Ajibade, said she was asked to pay N35, 000 for 2019 and 2020.
Ajibade said in as much as residents of the state were ready to support the state government in its revenue generation drive, government must be sincere in its dealing with people.
She said the yardstick with which the state government arrived at the estimation of her building was not known to her.
When contacted, Mr Gbite Ademikanra, the Chairman, Osun Internal Revenue Service (OIRS), said the Land Use charge was the civic responsibility of every land owners to pay.
Ademikanra said the Land Use Act was passed by the state House of Assembly in 2016 and took effect in 2017.
He said, “it is compulsory for landlord or landlady, who has not been paying the charges, to pay all the arrears whether they have the notice of payment before or not.”
Ademikanra said that the state government had granted tax relief to landlords, meaning that they would not pay fine or penalty for the owing arrears.
“The governor gave the tax relief, because of the COVID-19 pandemic and it economic effect on the people.
“However, landlords are given up to Dec. 31 to pay up all their Land Use charges.
“People who had not been paying would have to pay the backlog of their arrears.
“It is the civic responsibility of citizens to pay tax.
“It is not an excuse to say they will not pay, if they have not receive service notice of payment,” the chairman said.