Research in Brief Issue 16: Taxation, Property Rights and the Social Contract in Lagos

Wednesday, 31 January 2018
Tom Goodfellow and Olly Owen
Research in Brief Issue 16: Taxation, Property Rights and the Social Contract in Lagos

This ICTD Research in Brief is a two-page summary of ICTD Working Paper 73 by Tom Goodfellow and Olly Owen. This series is aimed at policy makers, tax administrators, fellow researchers and anyone else who is big on interest and short on time.

Major taxation reforms over the past decade have been interpreted as facilitating the transformation of Lagos from of a city seen as in permanent ‘crisis’ to a beacon of ‘megacity development’. Most attention has focused on Personal Income Taxation (PIT). Less attention has been devoted to another innovation – the property tax or Land Use Charge (LUC). Yet the story of property taxation in Lagos since the early 2000s is important not only in terms of enormous increases in collection, but because of the ways in which it has helped to solidify the ‘fiscal contract’ between state and society. 



In this paper, we argue that the LUC has been successfully used by the State government to draw people into the tax net for other, more lucrative taxes. Specifically, it has helped to support increases in PIT. Yet at the same time, it has also been instrumentalised from below as a form of incipient property right in the absence of official title. The LUC thus needs to be understood not only in terms of its role in the vaunted Lagos tax success story, but in relation to its function as one of the means by which people seek to incrementally deepen, entrench and solidify their rights to land in a context of intense tenure security.




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    Tom Goodfellow and Olly Owen
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    Wednesday, 31 January 2018
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