Land tax has been revised
WINDHOEK, 13 SEP (NAMPA) – Agricultural commercial land tax rates have been revised, Minister of Land Reform, Utoni Nujoma has announced.
Speaking in the National Assembly (NA) on Wednesday, Nujoma said the ministry considered the viability of the agricultural sector and the impact that a high land tax would have on the viability of the farming activities in the short and long term, as well as the impact on employment levels.
The land tax for Namibian nationals was revised from 0.75 per cent to 0.4 per cent; and 1.4 per cent from 1.75 per cent for foreign nationals for the first piece of agriculture land owned.
It is further proposed that the progressive rate of land tax for additional farms owned by the same owner remain the same as before at 0.25 per cent in either case.
“A high land tax will be able to raise more funding for land acquisition and simultaneously accelerate the land reform process,” Utoni said.
However, this is not sustainable in the long-term as the issue of affordability and sustainability of a high land tax is more likely to lead to high levels of non-payment of land tax making the whole process counter-productive, he added.
Utoni explained that the prevailing rates of land tax were last determined and approved by Parliament in August in 2004 on the basis of nationality and the number of farms owned by an individual.
He said the proposed land tax rates would progressively increase at 0.25 per cent for additional agricultural land owned by the same owner.
The annual amount of land tax that is expected to be generated will be N.dollars 80 million per annum.
Nujoma further explained that the ministry interrogated the implications of maintaining the current rates of land tax of 0.75 per cent and 1.75 per cent that is chargeable on agricultural commercial land, and found that if rates were not revised, the price at which Government would buy land in future would be high.
This is because land owners were likely to inflate the offer prices in order to recover the cost of a high land tax.
Although most Members of Parliament (MPs) supported Utoni, Dudu Murorua said consideration should be given to the size of land portions which are not equal, and to single farm owners and for taxes to be given to second or more land or farm owners.
The proposed tax revision was postponed to 26 September 2017 by DTA member Elma Dienda, for debate.