WINDHOEK: President of the Namibia Agriculture Union (NAU) Ryno van der Merwe said the union is not against the principle of land tax, but should be at all times reasonable, fair and affordable.
“The question is whether this astronomic increase in land values, which will lead to exceptional high assessments of land tax, comply with the requirements of tax,” he queried in the latest newsletter of NAU that was published on Monday.
Van der Merwe met with Minister of Lands and Resettlement Alpheus !Naruseb last week Friday to get clarity about land valuations.
Naruseb launched the 2012 Provisional Valuation Roll of commercial agricultural farms in Namibia last week Wednesday.
The roll contains the list of all commercial farms, alongside the name of the farm, the name of the owners and the taxable value of the property. The taxable value is based on the land in its natural state, without the improvements thereon
The provisional valuation roll is now open for inspection until 02 November 2012 at various Land Ministries country-wide.
Failure to furnish the ministry with information that has been requested for purposes of land taxation, attracts upon conviction a very steep fine of up to N.dollars 20 000 in accordance with the applicable law or imprisonment for a period of up to five years or both. Land owners, who fail to do so will pay land tax owing to the 2004/2005 financial year when the first tax was collected.
Van der Merwe questioned the process and if factors such as carrying capacity, bush encroachment, and tourism are relected in the current land valuations.
He is of the opinin that the Lands Ministry placed emphasize on the the current prices at which farms are negotiated for resettlement purposes with the drafting of the valuation rolls.
It is envisaged that this valuation roll will yield N.dollars 80 million per annum for the next five years. The money will, accordingly, be used to acquire land to resettle the previously disadvantaged Namibians as well as to develop and improve commercial agricultural land. That is, to make the farms for resettlement both liveable and economically productive.
!Naruseb said his ministry has been, upon application, exempting those categories of owners covered by section 76 of the Act from payment of land tax. The current review of the Agricultural (Commercial) Land Reform Act is considering to extend the exemption to owners, who are affected by natural calamities such as severe droughts, natural veld fires, flooding and others.
Since 2004, about N.dollars 200 million has been collected through the taxation of commercial agricultural land in Namibia.