Namibian farmers have criticised a questionnaire which requires information for the valuation of farm land for land tax purposes.
The questionnaire came about as a result of a recent notice published by the minister of lands and resettlement, Alpheus !Naruseb, in the Government Gazette of 15 November 2011. It requires farmers to indicate in minute detail all the improvements they have made on their farms.
This includes serial numbers of engines and generators, types of windmills, amount of wildlife and even the age of the animals. “I think the minister acted within the law, but our farmers are concerned,” said Sakkie Coetzee, CEO of the Namibia Agricultural Union (NAU).
“We are looking forward to an open and constructive dialogue with the Ministry of Lands, because farmers fear that the information they need to give is irrelevant and out of context.”
Coetzee stressed that there could be a serious cost and time implication involved with the exercise. “In some cases there will be a need for external quotations, for instance to determine the extent of bush encroachment, the carrying capacity, rainfall and other questions,” he said.
But McKay Rigava, valuer general at the Ministry of Lands, questioned the farmers’ concerns. “Who said the questions are irrelevant? Do they know about land valuation? I think that is their opinion, but the fact is that those questions were drafted according to our land valuation knowledge, and they are relevant for us.”
Rigava said that answering the questionnaire will not have any financial implications for farmers because it deals with basic items that don’t require consultation by experts. He added that the land valuation is not aimed at land acquisition for resettlement, but is purely for tax purposes. – Servaas van den Bosch