Lands Ministry exempts farmers from paying 2012/13 land taxes

WINDHOEK: The Ministry of Lands and Resettlement intends to exempt all farmers from paying land tax for the 2012/2013 financial year.

Lands and Resettlement Minister Alpheus !Naruseb made the announcement in his motivation statement for the ministry’s 2014/15 budget on Thursday.

“As a mitigating factor to farmers against the severe drought last year, the ministry intends to exempt all farmers from paying land tax during the 2012/2013 financial year. Currently, there is a case before the High Court where a farmer is challenging the constitutionality of the regulations on the operations of the land tax in the country,” he noted.

With regards to the 2012-2017 Provisional Valuations Roll, !Naruseb emphasised that it is still to be approved by the Valuation Court since its sitting had been nullified by the High Court.

On 11 September 2013, the High Court handed down a ruling and declared that the sitting of the Valuation Court established in terms of the provisions of Regulation 8 of Government Gazette No. 120 of 2007, is null and void.

!Naruseb indicated that the Valuation Court will be reconstituted to preside on the Provisional Valuation Roll for its approval during the current financial year.

The Lands Ministry received 1 250 applications for land tax exemption amounting to N.dollars 4,5 million.

It collected more than N.dollars 22 million in land taxes in previous financial years, and this amount will be transferred to the Land Acquisition and Development Fund to support land acquisition and development of infrastructure on resettlement farms, !Naruseb said.

With regards to the development of the ministry’s small-scale commercial farming project, !Naruseb noted that a total of 1 537 small-scale commercial farm units have so far been identified in the Caprivi, Kavango , Ohangwena, Omusati, Oshikoto, Otjozondjupa and Omaheke Regions.

Units have already been gazetted in the Kavango and Ohangwena Regions.

From the Appropriation Budget, an amount of more than N.dollars 13 million was allocated for the infrastructural development of the project in the small-scale commercial farming units. Another N.dollars 13,5 million under the Target Intervention Programme for Employment and Economic Growth was utilised for the fencing and marketing of infrastructure in Otjetjekwa (Kunene) and Okongo (Ohangwena).

A total of 48 000 hectares at Otjetjekwa was developed at a cost of more than N.dollars 6,7 million, with the fencing and marketing infrastructure for a registered co-operative benefitting 100 families. In Okongo, about 30 000 hectares was also developed with the fencing and marketing infrastructure at an amount of about N.dollars 6,7 million, with 15 leaseholds approved.

The Ministry of Lands and Resettlement’s budget increased from N.dollars 299 million in the 2013/14 financial year to N.dollars 590 million for the 2014/15 financial year.

SOURCE: NAMPA