Namibia Agricultural Union Congress to address land reform
High up on the agenda for this year’s Namibia Agricultural Union (NAU) Congress is land reform which is pegged for 7 October at the Safari Hotel & Conference Centre in Windhoek.
The Congress sponsored by Old Mutual this year will be held under the theme “The Contribution of Industrialisation and Technology to Agricultural Development.”
With a union representative on the Land Reform Advisory Committee the NAU noted shortcomings in the Amendment Act of 2014 and hoped that this would be addressed in the Land Bill, which still has to be tabled.
Derek Wright of the NAU in his presidential overview said,“The present methodology as appears in the Regulations is intrinsically flawed, and does not comply with a model of economic stability that is financially justifiable. This situation resulted in landowners being frustrated and concerned that the land valuation process in its present form will potentially cause the financial collapse of many enterprises.”
The Minister of Lands and Resettlement had a high regard for the positive contribution of the Namibia Agricultural Union to the debate on Land Reform. Nothing in the FAO Report is in conflict with the
Action taken by the union, especially the observation that “food security is dependent on the security of tenure.
“Figures show that the contribution of agriculture towards the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Namibia has decreased from 17% in the 1950s to 2,5% in 2014,”Wright added.
The report read,“The chances that the contribution of agricultural production could increase from the current 2,5% of the GDP of Namibia, are most unlikely at the moment.”
Wright said this is due to issues such as the Receiver of Revenue owing farmers millions of dollars in arrears of VAT and personal tax payments. This in turn Wright said can be attributed to the laxity of the office of the Receiver to conclude audits.
“These astronomical outstanding amounts put an additional burden on the farmer in an already economical difficult time when the agricultural sector is suffering from the effects of the current drought,” he added.“When investigated closer, it seems that the work load of the staff of the Receiver is heavy, so much so that telephone calls are not answered.”
He said that farmers are unable to make appointments to conclude their audits as soon as possible. The union confirmed its commitment to the payment of promulgated land tax on commercial farmland as part of its contribution to a successful and sustainable land reform process in Namibia. However, such land tax should be based on a transparent model suitable for the Namibian demographic requirements fair affordable equitable, and in line with internationally accepted tax laws.
The Namibia Agricultural Union distanced itself from the current legal action challenging the constitutionality of land tax and urged all landowners to adhere to payment of land tax.