Kano State Land Use Charge Bill: A Direction Worth Taking By Musa Idris Talle
The present economic challenges, which were necessitated by the downfall in oil revenue, undoubtedly compelled all tiers of governments to look elsewhere for their survival and continuous existence. Absent of the present challenges would have rendered the ongoing economic diversification unrealistic and this explains why some persons warmly embraced and considered the challenges as a blessing in disguised.
While other States (particularly Northern States) are struggling to adapt to the current economic reality, Lagos State, due to its efficient tax administration and collection system, have little or nothing to worry about. The monthly Internally Generated Revenue of Lagos State has drastically grown from N3.6B in 2006 to N24.5B in January 2016. In 2015, Lagos State recorded the total revenue generation of N268.22B, the closest State, River State, generated N82.10B while Kano State generated N13.611B.
The boost in the Internally Generated Revenue of Lagos State was as a result of the consolidation of real property with land based charges and rates, to wit, Tenement Rates Law, Land Rates Law, Neighborhood Improvement and Assessment Law into the Land Use Charge Law of Lagos State, 2011.
The recent One Day retreat on the review of Kano State Land Use Charge Bill 2016, organized by the State Government is indeed a milestone of the expected achievement. Though long overdue for a State that should be competing with Lagos State in terms of Internally Generated Revenue, the Bill and the retreat are moves in the right direction. The passage of the Bill into law would drastically boost Internally Generated Revenue of Kano State, ensure financial independent Kano State and further serve as an eye opener and yardstick to other Northern States.
The Kano State Government and the tax authorities need to prepare for the likely impediments that may curtailed the attainment of the targeted revenue boost. To ensure the revenue boost, all hands must be on deck to address the likely impediments which may include: fraud and corruption, non-availability of property statistics and information, poor tax enforcement, administration and policy, multiple taxation, lack of awareness and infrastructural development, problems of assessment and evaluation, lack of modern technology, poor compliance and non-engagement of experts.
The Bill, if duly passed and effectively implemented, would place Kano State on its rightful position in the ranking of financial independent States in the Country and further better the life of the taxpayers.
MUSA IDRIS TALLE