A real estate surveyor and valuer, Mr Livingstone Iyanda, has urged the Federal Government to partner with the Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers to enforce property tax in Nigeria.
Iyanda told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Monday that a partnership of that kind could make real estate taxation a major source of revenue for the government.
According to him, real estate surveyors have the capacity to properly assess the value of property and ensure effective management of land resource.
“The estate surveyor and valuer is the only key professional in Nigeria, who can ensure the change and enhance the prosperity of our people through property taxation and effective management of land resource in the country.
“Government is to partner with the Ministry of Justice to call all the relevant justice locations in the country – from the National Assembly (to) each State House of Assembly’s Committee on Judiciary, the local governments, and those that are responsible for tax collection – (to) come together, under the auspices of the Ministry of Justice in collaboration with the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers, to fashion out a more modern way of accessing, collecting and applying proceeds from real estate taxation.’’
Iyanda advised the government to impose tax on luxury possessions in order to bridge the gap between the rich and poor.
“There are people with cars of N50 million on our roads. They drive it once in a while. Some flash it.
“Men that have lost their jobs are becoming armed robbers and kidnapping people. Some of these things are the reasons.
“You have not eaten twice a day (but) someone is driving a car of N50 million. There is nothing wrong with it, but we must transfer income from the very rich to the very poor.
“And the only way we can do it is to do it collectively. If you have a car that is worth N10 million or N20 million, then you should pay us a percentage of its value as tax.
“So, those that don’t even have cars, can have roads that would take their buses without accidents, no potholes and then they can have water easily and then they will not be angry
“Winner takes all is what we have now. Even the taxes that are being collected are being pocketed by the already rich people, instead of being spread to the masses and people that need it.
“So, it is an aberration and it should be corrected.’’
He said that rather than being proactive, the current method of assessment, collection, administration, and management of taxes by the various governments, was “reactionary’’.
According to him, government needs to educate Nigerians on the benefits they stand to enjoy when they pay taxes.
The real estate surveyor also government advised the government to justify tax collection by providing the people with social amenities.
“Gone are the days when you go with policemen or even soldiers to collect taxes; that way you harass people.
“In other places, it is a civic responsibility to pay tax because you are convinced that it has been properly assessed and will be used to your benefit.’’ (NAN)