With the implementation of the new Land Use Charge (LUC) law, the Lagos State government is planning to use its proceeds to execute ongoing infrastructural projects rather than continuing borrowing from the bond market, its Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Kehinde Bamigbetan, has said.
Bamigbetan, who stated this at a media parley over the weekend, explained that most of the projects being executed in the last two years are done with bonds. “Our argument is that we have used the bond system to create track record in project delivery. We cannot encourage a situation where we will continue to mortgage the future of Lagos State to interest bearing bonds. We need to go back to the people to ask for more money so that we will able to provide what they need now and make Lagos a better city,” he said.
On the controversial LUC review, he urged Lagosians to look at the bigger picture of Lagos where all basic amenities will be made available for the people and not the increase in the LUC.
His words: “Our appeal is that the people see the big picture and not the small picture. The small picture is where the individuals have already budgeted what they would spend for the year. And they are now receiving this bill. Of course, the adjustment would require some challenges. That challenge of paying that money should be resolved in favour of infrastructure and the social services we intend to use any fresh fund to provide. It is going to be to the benefit of everybody.
“Many people have asked why the state government, almost on its way to the second term, is embroiled in the LUC law. Our response is that we have to think not just as politicians but as statesmen. Politicians think of the next elections, statesmen think of the next generation. If we want to be selfish about this matter, if we want to be self-centred, we will take the easy way out by allowing the system to remain the way it is. But that is not transformative leadership. The leadership that inherited the Lagos State fund has been the leadership that looks beyond the time, to protect the state against future shock. So each time we have to look at individual’s needs, that individual who is not happy that he has to pay more, let’s also look at the bigger picture: the vision of the better Lagos. The Lagos that would want to benchmark itself against London; a Lagos that wants to benchmark Paris.
“In other jurisdictions, if we look at what they run their economies on, it is far more than what we engage in Lagos. I want to appeal to all that the Lagos LUC law is designed to provide the resources for infrastructure; most things you need once you step out of your homes.
“You gave us the votes and you deserve the best value for your votes. If we get to the midstream and we find out that we need more funds to transform that dream to reality, we need to go back and ask for more funds.”