18 Feb 2015 10:00am
WINDHOEK, 18 FEB (NAMPA) The Ministry of Lands and Resettlement (MLR) has expressed concern over lawyers and accountants who are allegedly assisting farmers to by-pass laws and avoid paying land tax.
Lands and Resettlement Minister Alpheus !Naruseb raised the alarm during his annual address to staff members here last week.
The ministry has noted with concern that some professionals in the legal and accounting sectors are assisting farmers to bypass or circumvent laws, and mobilizing the law-abiding citizens not to pay land tax.
I am confident that the land tax project will continue, and that law-abiding citizens will continue to respect the spirit in which land tax is levied.
Government is aware of these on-going tactics which are aimed at destabilizing peaceful governments in Africa, and Namibia is no exception, he charged.
He stated that so far, the land reform programme has been carried out within a peaceful environment, guided by the current legal and policy framework with adherence to the Namibian Constitution.
This will continue to be the guiding principle, according to the minister.
All farmers were exempt from paying land tax for the 2012/13 financial year, costing government about N.dollars 40 million in land tax revenue for the benefit of the Land Acquisition and Development Fund.
About 7 000 paid-up commercial farmers had breathing space to recapitalise their farms, following the severe drought experienced during the 2012/2013 financial year. !Naruseb promised paid-up farmers that they will also receive credit on their land tax assessments for the 2013/14 financial year.
In line with good land governance, the minister emphasized that his office has continued to engage the farming community through various platforms, while they were also given an opportunity to engage with government at the highest level.
Meanwhile, preparations for a new Valuation Roll have been put on hold, pending the completion of amendments to the Land Valuation and Taxation Regulations of 2007.
The said amendments are now at a consultative stage with relevant ministries.
The amendments to the regulations have been necessitated by the legal challenges experienced during the presentation of the 2012 Provisional Valuation Roll.
In the interim, the 2007 Valuation Roll has been used to collect land tax for the 2013/2014 financial year, where N.dollars 46 million is expected to be collected.