The Executive Council of the Namibian Agricultural Union (NAU) will seek an urgent audience with the Ministry of Land Reform this week to discuss the unchanged valuation rolls as tabled in 2012, which could result in farmers paying between 300 and 400 percent more tax.
This follows intensive discussions at the NAU’s executive council meeting last week.
The council noted with surprise that the latest valuation rolls are the same disputed documents already tabled in 2012 without any changes made to them. These valuations are considerably higher than the valuations for which land tax has to be paid currently and should the rate against which land tax is currently calculated still be applicable, it will mean that landowners will pay up to 400 percent more land tax.
NAU last Friday expressed concern about the proposed steep hike in tariffs, which has caused a lot of uncertainty amongst landowners.
During talks with the Ministry of Land Reform earlier this year as well as with officials of the Ministry of Land Reform, it was noted that a distinction should be made between land valuations and the rate of assessment. The rate of assessment is a function which has to be determined between the ministers of land reform, agriculture and finance and then approved by the National Assembly.
The NAU already made certain proposals in 2013 for a rate adjustment, to be confirmed by the Valuation Court.
According to the NAU executive council the inherent shortages contained in the regulations, according to which land values are determined, led to the current disputed land valuations.
Even though the carrying capacity has to be used as an integral part of the valuation system, the valuation does not necessarily follow the patterns of the carrying capacity map.
The reason for this is that the land prices of the past five years were used as base for the determination of land valuations and in many cases it also happens that other factors such as tourism potential are reflected in the price, while according to the regulations this may not be taken into account. The same is applicable for bush encroachment and bad agricultural practices.
The NAU emphasised its viewpoint with regard to land tax, namely that it is committed to the payment of land tax as a contribution towards land reform in Namibia, but that land valuations have to be realistic and be determined according to the Act and regulations, and that land tax must in all cases be reasonable, fair and affordable.