No rentals for communal farmers, only AI and A2 farmers will be charged


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Lands Minister Douglas Mombeshora says communal farmers will not be charged any land rentals but new farmers who were allocated land as either A1 or A2 farmers will be charged land rental and unit tax because the land belongs to the state so they cannot continue to use it for free.

He told Parliament that A1 farmers, whose ploys average six hectares, will be charged a standard land rental of $10 a year and a unit tax of $5 a year making a total of $15 a year.

A2 farmers, who are medium to large-scale commercial farmers, will be charged a rental of $3 per hectare and unit tax of $2 per hectare making a total of $5 a hectare.

The move is aimed at making sure that farmers utilise the land and those who cannot afford should give way to those who are interested in making farming a business.

A lot of people have taken over land as weekend farms or for speculation with some being accused of renting out the farms.

 

Q & A:

 

DR. KEREKE: My question is directed to the Minister of Lands and Rural Resettlement. There has been a pronouncement that a taxation system has been introduced for communal lands as well as A2 and A1. The constituents seek an explanation on the actual policy position and the mechanics of doing so in light of the fact that during the Lancaster and Donor Conference later in the 1990s, it was the policy position that the yesteryear colonizers will fund the repayment to previous illegal owners of our farms?

THE MINISTER OF LANDS AND RURAL RESETTLEMENT (DR. MOMBESHORA): I want to thank Hon. Dr. Kereke for asking that question because I realize that there has been a lot of confusion and wrong statements have been issued especially in the print media. Let me just first say there are two things that we pronounced – land rental and unit tax. In short unit tax was being charged already by Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing. All what has changed is that the Ministry of Lands and Rural Resettlement would be collecting unit tax on behalf of Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing.

The second issue is land rentals. We have introduced the land rentals because all agricultural land belongs to the state. All land that has been acquired for agriculture by the state can only be utilised or owned through an offer letter, lease or permit. A permit is issued to A1 farmers. Offer letters and leases are issued to A2 farmers. Those who hold title deeds are not affected by this new policy. We are saying it is not fair that I use land that belongs to the State for free yet somebody who requires that land does not have access to that land, is also not having anything to use it and is the same with someone who is using that land.

Land rentals are going to be charged separately and at different rates for A2 and A1 farmers. For A1 farmers, the land rentals would be charged at the rate of $10 per annum. It is a flat fee. The unit tax is $5 per annum. Therefore, the total amount required for both land rentals and unit tax would be $15 per annum per household. For the A2 model, the land rentals would be charged per hectare at the rate of $3 per hectare per annum and the unit tax would be $2 per hectare per annum. When you combine the unit tax and the land rental, it will be a total of $5 per hectare per annum. These have got different sizes and you pay according to the size of land that you will be utilising. I thank you.

DR. KEREKE: My supplementary question is whether it is fact that communal land is also affected by the taxation system and also clarification on whether there is a change in Government’s policy on us as Zimbabweans paying the yesteryear colonisers or there is still the same policy position that the international community will have to pay for compensation of past settlers?

Dr. MOMBESHORA: Communal land will not be charged land rentals. Those are exempted. As for compensation, it is Government’s policy that all acquired land will not be compensated for but only improvements will be compensated for by Government.

(257 VIEWS)

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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