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Building Industry Operators Fault Land Use Charge

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Some operators in the building construction industry have joined in showing dissatisfaction with the level of reduction in the Land Use Charge (LUC) announced by the Lagos State Government.
They spoke with The Tide source in Lagos, Saturday
The state government, following public outcry on its hike in the charge had last Thursday announced various reliefs, with some reduction.
But several groups have continued to express dissatisfaction, adducing various reasons for their positions.
Vice President of the Nigeria Institute of Quantity Surveyors (NIQS), Mr Olayemi Shonubi said last Saturday that the government had not justified the review, which affected only few sections.
According to him, the reduction will make no economic impact if a wholesome amendment is not made to other sections of the law on the charge.
He said this was necessary, considering the requests of the stakeholders, landlords and professionals in the sector.
“Let the entire LUC law be taken back to the House of Assembly for complete overhaul, review and amendment, such that the rate of reduction, penalities removal, installmental payment and conditions may be enacted into the law.
“It is only when the law is wholesomely reviewed to meet with value of the property over time, that it will be of economic importance to the residents of the state.
“Otherwise, the masses will just be living at the mercy of the government because successive governments may come up with different policies in respect to the law at will,” Shonubi said.
Mr Samuel Effiong, former chairman of the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV) Lagos State Chapter, said that the review of a law as important as the LUC should not be done with a fire brigade approach.
Effiong said that the state government reviewed the charges in haste and as such did not carry out proper analysis, study and consultations.
According to him, the needed fundamental adjustments to the law have not been made.
He said that evaluation of property taxes were not based on capital value, but on income value of the property.
“The government needs not to be in hurry in amending this law.
“They should do the necssary consultations, sit down with the estate surveyors and valuers to properly study/assess the law and work out the modalities for applying it,” Effiong said.
Mr Makinde Ogunleye, former Chairman, Nigeria Institute of Town Planners (NITP), said it would further jeopardise the economic system for the state government to pursue an increment at a time the country just came out of recession.
Ogunleye said it was not the right time for any form of taxation increment.
He said that if the government wants to raise more revenue, it could do so by looking at other areas.
According to him, considering the economic situation in Nigeria today, the government must have sympathy and empathy for the people.
He noted that imposition or addition of any payment of money on citizens now could be exposing them to avoidable pains.
“The state government has so many other ways of generating revenue. Lagos State has a lot of industries.
“Let the state government target the rich and not the poor because increment in LUC will affect everyone; the poor, the average income earner and the rich as well.
“Let them target the extremely rich, the high-end industries, commercial ventures, and not those who are struggling to survive,” Ogunleye said.
The Lagos Government had recently repealed its 2001 Land Use Charge Law and replaced it with a new Land Use Charge Law, 2018, which was signed on Feb. 8.

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MWUN Threatens To Down Tools Over Failed Quay Aprons 

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The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) on Friday threatened to shutdown port operations over the dilapidated quay aprons at some of the nation’s seaports.
Speaking in Lagos during a joint press conference put together by the union and Nigeria Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), President General, MWUN,  Comrade Adewale Adeyanju, reiterated that the lives of labour workers at the affected terminals was at risk, saying that “injury to one is tantamount to injury to all.”
Adeyanju lamented that the union cannot allow the situation consume some dockworkers before protesting against the trend, noting that as a responsible and proactive group, there was the need to down tools for government to do the needful.
Our correspondent gathered that two port terminal, at Tin Can Island Port Complex, Lagos, and another  at Port Harcourt, Rivers Port  Quay wells have been in  dilapidated condition for over five years without any sign of repair works from the Federal Government of Nigeria.
Recall that Minister of Transportation, Mu’Azu Sambo, who also inspected the dilapidated portion of the Tin Can Island Port quay apron recently, asked Mohammed Bello-Koko, Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and the engineers to forward the ‘as-built’ plan of the jetty, alongside other documents to his office for immediate action.
While reacting to questions from the journalists, Adeyanju said the union will also engage management of the NPA in furtherance to address the menacing failed infrastructure of the terminals.
On the recently inked Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the NARTO, the President General noted that the collaboration has been in existence for a long while with the aims to cater for drivers’ welfare and support projects of the NPA in port terminals operations.
He also warned members of the dockworkers branch to cooperate and embrace the agreement with the trucking association, noting that any attempt by the dockers to flout the MoU reached so far would result to sanctions from the national executive of MWUN.
He assured the leadership of NARTO, led by its National President, Alhaji Yusuf Othman, of the Union’s commitment towards ensuring that progress and success is achieved  in the agreement.
According to him, the MoU is binding for members of the dockworkers branch, stressing that the Lagos ports was a test run with plans ahead to extend the agreement to other seaports, including, Warri, Calabar and Port Harcourt ports.
Earlier, President of NARTO, Alhaji Othman, lauded the MoU reached with MWUN, adding that success will be achieved in the merger. Othman said in line with port operations, the merger will bring about free flow of vehicular movement in and out of the ports calling on the parties involved to embrace sincerity and transparency for the benefit of the industry and Nigeria.
He said, “We wish to draw the attention of the general public to the decision for MWUN and NARTO to synergise and collaborate on a basis of common desire to ensure seamless environment to do business in the maritime sub sector of the nation’s economy”.

By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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PenCom Approves Use Of Pensions For Mortgage

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National Pension Commission (PenCom), has commenced approval for workers to use 25 per cent of their Retirement Savings Accounts for mortgage.
PenCom in a press statement released on Friday, titled ‘PenCom approves guidelines on accessing Retirement Savings Account balance for payment of equity contribution for residential mortgage by RSA holders’, noted that the approval was in line with the Pension Reform Act of 2014.
It stated in part, “PenCom is pleased to inform all stakeholders and the general public, particularly RSA holders, that the commission has approved the issuance and immediate implementation of the guidelines on accessing RSA balance towards payment of equity contribution for residential mortgage by RSA holders.
“The approval is in line with Section 89 (2) of the Pension Reform Act 2014, which allows RSA holders to use a portion of their RSA balance towards payment of equity for residential mortgage”.
According to the PenCom, the guidelines cover pension contributors in active employment, either as a salaried employee or as a self-employed person.
It added that the maximum amount to be withdrawn is 25 per cent of the total mandatory RSA balance as of the date of application, irrespective of the value of equity contribution required by the mortgage lender.
It further stated that where 25 per cent of a contributor’s RSA balance is not sufficient for payment as equity contribution, that RSA holders may utilize the contingency portion of their voluntary contributions (if any).
To qualify as a mortgage lender for the purpose, it stated, the company must be licensed by the Central Bank of Nigeria, comply with the Contributory Pension Scheme and have valid Pension Clearance Certificate.
“The RSA of the applicant shall have both employer and employee’s mandatory contributions for a cumulative minimum period of 60 months (five years).
“A contributor under the Micro Pension Plan is also eligible, provided he/she has made contributions for at least 60 months (five years) prior to the date of his/her application, and the RSA Holders that have less than three years to retirement are not eligible.
“Married couples, who are RSA holders, are eligible to make a joint application, subject to individually satisfying the eligibility requirements.
“RSA holders, if registered before 1 July 2019, must have their records updated through the RSA data recapture exercise.
“Application for equity contribution for residential mortgage shall be in person and not by proxy.” it stated.

By: Corlins Walter

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Car Hires Operators, Bolt Driver Flex Muscles In PH Airport

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There was pandemonium at the Port Harcourt International Airport Omagwa, Friday, as the Accredited Car Hires operators clashed with a Bolt taxi operator over passengers.
The scenario that played out got to the extent that everyone scampered for safety, as the Bolt driver went wild with his vehicle, and defied everything put in place to stop him, determined to crush anything, including humans, that stool on his way.
Problem started when the suspected Bolt driver was stopped by the Car Hires.  After a heated argument, characterized by abuses, the bolt driver decided to enter his vehicle in anger, after he sensed that his car was in danger of being confiscated.
In the commotion that ensued, the car hires, as usual, used their iron piercing instruments to block the tyres of the vehicle to keep it within their custody, and the uproar attracted  the attention of other airport users.
The Car hires and their allies at the airport had always insisted that no other taxi operator must carry passengers at the airport, since they do not pay any levy to the airport authority.
Consequently, they use every force necessary to stop other outside taxis from carrying passengers from the airport.
Friday’s incident took a new twist, as the Bolt driver over. Powered the forces used by the car hires, and went on a suicide mission, which made people to scamper for safety, including the car hires.
The driver went on a speed spree away from the airport. Even when the piercing instruments cut his tyre, he drove in such reckless manner capable of pulling down a building, thereby setting the entire environment on panic.
Some security agents present had to clear the way for the Bolt driver who drove out of the Airport with the iron piercing instrument obstructing his car, defiling all attempts to stop him.

By: Corlins Walter

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