By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State on Thursday signed seven bills passed by the state’s House of Assembly into law.
The seven bills the governor assented to were the Amended Land Use Charge Bill, the Electricity Power Sector Reform Law, the School of Nursing Bill, the Cooperative College Bill, the Cancer Research Institute Bill, the Amended Customary Court Bill and the Yoruba Language Preservation bill.
According to Mr Ambode, the most significant of bills he signed into law today is the Electricity Power Sector Reform Law, which he explained gives legal backing to the Embedded Power Programme.
“This will help us achieve our electricity generation plan to provide 24-7 uninterrupted electricity supply to Lagosians,” the Governor said.
Mr Ambode re-echoed his commitment to move the metropolis forward and make it one of the best in the world.
He commended the state’s legislative arm of government for passing the bills and keying into the vision of the state government.
Amended Land Use Charge (LUC) Law, a formula was introduced to ensure assessments are based on ‘market’ or commercial value of land and improvements.
Also, the exemption available to cemeteries and burial grounds under the old law is restricted under the new law to public cemeteries which means that owners of private cemeteries will now be expected to pay LUC.
In addition, private libraries will be exempt under the law in addition to public libraries; however, they must be certified to be non-profit making by the Commissioner of Finance for Lagos State.
Furthermore, the exemption for property owned by religious bodies has been limited to those used as a place of worship or for religious education.
Business Post gathered that under the law, persons liable to pay LUC have been extended to include occupiers holding long leases of 10 years and above. But the law is silent on whether such LUC paid can be recovered from the landlord.
Also, the law has reduced the number of the tribunal from 15 to 9 and gives the tribunal the power to adopt Alternative Dispute Resolution.
Where the mediation does not resolve the dispute within 45 working days of the first session or when the mediator declares an impasse, the mediation shall be deemed inconclusive and parties shall be at liberty to resolve their dispute formally at the Tribunal or through any other lawful means.
However, the Law does not state who will bear the alternative dispute resolution cost.
Also, penalty for noncompliance with provisions of the law has been increased to a maximum fine NGN250,000 from NGN100,000, while the rights of enforcement of the state has been extended to include a civil action against the owner to recover the accrued LUC or to obtain an order of Court for distrain of the property.
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