15 October 2012

Namibia: Farmers Demand Answers On New Land Values

Windhoek — Commercial farmers under the Namibia Agricultural Union (NAU) have vowed to push on with their fight to get answers from the government on the process used to compile the 2012 provisional valuation roll.

One of the resolutions at the just-ended NAU congress is for the union to have urgent discussions with the Ministry of Lands and Resettlement to gain clarity on the process it followed to come up with the 2012 provisional valuation roll.

"Congress feels the astronomical increase in land values, some as high as 630 percent, are neither affordable nor fair. Land tax is also not deductible as an expense item for the purpose of income tax and should thus, as in the case of income tax, be deductible from the net farming profit," the farmers said at the congress.

The farmers want to highlight the un-affordability of the land tax and the effect this has on the value chain of the agricultural economy, as well as the creation of employment in the commercial agricultural sector.

The 2012 provisional valuation roll has not been well received by the predominantly white farming community.

Farmers say the valuation roll pushes up the land tax to as much as 380 percent for some farmers. The union wants the ministry to retract the 2012 provisional valuation roll and correct it to comply with the principles of the regulations, as well as to comply with the principles of fairness and affordability.

In the meantime, the NAU proposed that the current land tax be adapted with 35 percent, which directly correlates with the weighed average increase in producer prices from 2007 to 2012.

According to the farmers, landowners find it confusing how the 2012 provisional land valuation was compiled when looking at the face value of land and comparing it with the official utility stocking that was drawn up by the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry.

"It is also confusing and difficult to understand how adjacent farms within the same utility stocking area have land values that differ by as much as 100 percent," the NAU says.

Farmers further queried how farms with the same climatological and physiographic geography that lie in an area with a higher production value, have land values of up to a 100 percent lower than areas with a lower production value.

According to the NAU, this can cause a drastic increase in the maximum rate for income tax of 37 percent payable by the individual, which will make farming as a business non-profitable.

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