Property Rating As A Source Of Local Government Revenue In Imo State

PROPERTY RATING AS A SOURCE OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT REVENUE IN IMO STATE (A CASE STUDY OF ORU-WEST LOCAL GOVERNMENT IMO STATE)

The poor relief act of 1601, often known as the statue of Elizabeth can be regarded as the origin of ratin valuation in the world. This statute first made provision for the levy of local regular tax over the whole of England by the parish council. This being the local unit of the local administration which cover the country at that time. The act provided that each parish should appoint overseers of the poor with powers to provide

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1. Work for the unemployed of the parish
2. To give relief to those not capable of working
3. To assess and levy a rate to finance the above foregoing activities and recover unpaid tax by distress.

The above foregoing activities and recover unpaid tax by distress.

The first two activities as shown above where poor function – while the latter activity was rating authority function. Under the same act, the overseers could tax every inhabitant and every occupier of land in the parish. The ability to pay rate by each inhabitant depend on his occupation of land and buildings it was decided that a parish poor rate could be believed on real and personal property actually within the boundaries of the particular parish and that rates if levied on an occupier, could not in addition be levied on the landlord of the same property. In practice, the overseers found it difficult to establish the ownership and even of personal unit in 1804 when the poor law exemption act was enacted. The act exempted inhabitants of properties from paying rates in respect of their business stock in trade etc, and rates became levied only on the occupiers of land and building.

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The basis of assessment was not specifically stated in the 1601 act and the overseers fixed this on the basis of the annual value of theproperty. But the parochial assessment act (1836) tried to amohorate this problem by providing the definition of value for rating purpose when it provided that every rate must be based on the net annual value of the occupation. The annual rent on the bais that the tenant paid all outgoings. The union assessment committee act (1862) further provided that net annual value, it could also be determined on the basis of gross estimated value, or gross value, the annual rent on the basis that the landlord paid all outgoings.

However, both the rating and valuation act (1925) and the general rate act (1967) repeated the above definition and provided definition which are still in force today for gross value, net annual value or retable value. These acts also transfer the functions of the overseers to that government authorities.

2.1 PROPERTY RATING IN ORU-WEST LOCAL
There has been a method of collecting local taxes inform of rating in Oru-West right from the beginning. Although, there was no statutory provision for its practice until very recently when the 1976 local government reforms was enacted.

In the recent times, people of different age group usually contribute money together in other to carryout some beneficial projects and services of roads and common paths, construction of local bridges, maintenance of public places like markets etc and also maintenances of the Igwe’s house. There are other ways money used to finance facilities and services are derived. These could be inform of fines collected during general meetings, annual tributes paid by the citizens and rendering of the services by some subjects especially for the maintenance of the Igwe properties at this time, rating was termed Great tax because it involves manual works.
The crude system continued until the enactment of the 1976 local government reforms, property rating in Oru-West is being controlled by the local government law of 1980 which provides the method, basis of assessment for property rating in Imo state.

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2.2 NEED FOR REVENUE AND RATIONAL FOR PROPERTY RATING
The need for revenue to any local government authority cannot be over emphasized. Property rates are “compulsory levies imposed on owners of property for the purpose of meeting up the cost of specific public improvements likely to enhance the value of the fact that money is required to defray the expenses incurred by the local authorities in the development provision, and maintenance of essential amenities in a locality. Opponents of rating as a source of local government activities often argue that rates collection should be on the basis of services and productive ventures already established in a locality. They feel that unless industries which would provide gainful employment in a locality abound, people cannot be expected to have sufficient income with which to pay rates. On the other hand, opponents of the rating idea insist that there already some infrastural amenities, goods and services enjoyed by the community and these together are indicative of the preparedness of government to develop the society.

However, the fact remains that all localities need some form economic base, they need the basic infrastructural and recreational facilities. These facilities need adequate maintenance and repairs, the cost of which have to be defrayed.

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