By Simeon OSAJIE
Edo State Government, through the Edo State Geographic Information Service, (EDOGIS) has trained and sensitized over 800 Staff of the 18 Local Government Councils spread across the three Senatorial Districts of the State on the effective use and application of technology in data collection and bills generation for the Land Use Charge (LUC).
The Land Use Charge which is a consolidated form of tax consists of the Tenement Rate, Property Tax and Ground Rent. While the Tenement rate goes to the Local Government, both Property Tax and Ground Rent go to the State Government.
The training workshop followed the recent successful Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by the 18 Local Government Councils with Edo State Geographic Information Service (EDOGIS) on the Land Use Charge implementation.
The first training programme took place in Benin City on Friday, July 28, 2023, at the John Odigie-Oyegun Public Service if Academy (JOOPSA) and it was for officials drawn from the Seven (7) Local Government Councils in Edo South Senatorial District, comprising Oredo, Egor, Ovia Southwest, Ovia North-East, IKpoba-Okha, Uhunmwonde and Orhionmwon Local Government Councils.
The Second training session was held at the Council Hall of Etsako West, Auchi on Thursday, August 3, 2023, for those designated Council Staff drawn from Edo North, comprising the Six (6) Local Government Councils of Etsako west, Etsako East, Etsako Central, Akoko-Edo, Owan West, and Owan East.
The final training session for officials of Edo Central District was held at Ekpoma Council Hall on August 3, 2023, and it was for the Five (5) Local Government Councils of Esan-West, Esan-Central, Esan North-East, Esan South-East and Igueben.
Welcoming participants to the training workshops, the Managing Director, EDOGIS, ESV. Osaro Grace Aihie, who delivered a lecture in each of the sessions on the subject matter, emphasized that the Land Use Charge was not a new concept, but had been in existence in Edo State since 2012 after passing through the Edo State House of Assembly.
She, however, clarified that in 2013 it was re-amended but repealed and re-enacted to become fully operational in 2023, stressing that the Land Use Act is not meant to increase the burden of taxation on property owners but to explore other sources of revenue generation, now that fiscal allocation from the Federation Account has continued to dwindle while Local Government Councils find it difficult to fund crucial projects, based on paucity of funds.
So, the essence of this training workshop is to train Local Government Staff to give them capacity to enable them collect data as it should be in their Local Government Councils for the purpose of the Tenement Rate. It is also aimed at institutionalizing the culture of technology, probity, accountability, and transparency in driving the process of administering the Land Use Charge in Local Government Areas” she explained.
The Project Manager (EDOGIS), Mr. Alain Daccache and the Consultant, Training (EDOGIS), Mr. Joshua Adeniran, both lectured the participants on the practical use of the Mobile data Collection App during the workshops and made them to demonstrate their mastery of the tablets supplied by EDOGIS.
Participants who were interviewed at the end of the training exercise, commended Edo State Government and expressed delight that their capacity have been enhanced, strengthened and upscale, describing the exercise as a game changer.