The Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN), Lagos State Chapter has condemned the new land use charge recently introduced by Lagos state government and called for the total repeal of the law.
The party said it was not swayed by the purported reduction of the charges which is a well-worn tactic to deceive the masses in such that the people would belief that the government has shifted ground while it has actually settled for the originally intended figure.
Noting that the masses have experienced similar tactics many times with different hikes in fuel price.
This was contained in a statement made available to Journalists signed by Rufus Olusesan and Monsuru Soyombo, chairperson and publicity secretary respectively
According to the statement, “We strongly hold that the Lagos State Government does not have moral basis to impose any new tax on the people having not accounted for revenue realized from the previous taxes has been spent.
“Yes, it is true that the state government has embarked on a few infrastructural projects, but there is utter lack of accountability and transparency in those projects as Lagosians do not know their cost.
“We are aware that all the attempts by media and civil society organisations to know the costs of the projects are rebuffed. This can only mean that the costs of the projects are criminally inflated.
“It also suggests that the real intention behind those projects is not necessarily for public good but creating a conduit for looting of the state resources. Besides, the entire state budget is treated as a classified document while procurement process is kept as a state secret.
“This is not only undemocratic but also fraudulent. This is why we see the increase as a means of maintaining opulent lifestyles of political office holders both past and present.
“We therefore reject the justification by Governor Ambode that the tax increase is needed in order to finance infrastructures. We believe that the current revenue of the state if judiciously and democratically managed can largely finance not only provision of physical infrastructures such as roads, railways and waterways but also quality education, health care and decent housing”.
To achieve this, the SPN suggested that all political office holders should be placed on the salary structure of civil servants as well as cancellation of what the party described as criminal life pension and severance pays for former governors and other political office holders.
“We also call for public works department to be well equipped and well trained staff such that they can execute any construction work and not just reduced to patching of bad portions of the road. Also importantly, all projects must be put under democratic control of elected representatives of workers, community people and relevant interest groups. All these the SPN will implement if we are in the government of Lagos.
“We are also of the view that the purported reduction and so-called relief in the land use charge have not addressed the issue of market valuation of properties which can be used to exploit the people by the government and its agents”, the statement concluded.
Lagos Post Online