ZIMBABWE – Government has gazetted rents and development levies for resettled farmers in accordance with the Finance Act recently assented to by President Mugabe.
The Finance Act, published last Friday, states that resettled farmers with permits and 99-year leases in all natural regions from 1 to 5 shall be expected to pay rent and a development levy.
The levy will be used to set up infrastructure like schools, clinics, dip tanks and roads, among others.
According to the act, A1 farmers will pay a $10 rental levy per year and a $5 development levy, A2 farmers will pay a rental levy of $3 per hectare per year and a development levy of $2 per hectare for development.
The levies should be paid quarterly.
“The development levy shall be used to meet expenditure on the projects within the rural district council area from which the levy was collected. The projects include gully reclamation and other works related to soil conservation and prevention of soil erosion, provision, operation and maintenance of hospitals, clinics, dispensaries and schools and other educational institutions, facilities and amenities connected therewith,” reads the Act.
“The fund will also be used for the provision and maintenance of dipping tanks and provisions, development and maintenance of roads,” it says.
The Minister of Lands and Rural Resettlement, through officers in a ministry designated by the secretary of that ministry, shall be responsible for the collection of the rentals and development levies on behalf of the State.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the rentals and development levies collected in terms of this chapter shall form part of the Consolidated Revenue Fund,” reads part of the Act.
“Persons liable to pay the development levy in terms of this chapter shall not be liable to pay any development imposed in terms of the Rural District Councils Act,” it states.
According to the Act, the Minister of Lands and Rural Resettlement shall cancel the offer letter of any holder who fails to pay rent for three consecutive quarters.
“Provided that if the holder of the offer letter tenders payment of the full amount of rentals due within 30 days after receiving written notice of cancellation of his or her offer letter, the offer letter shall be deemed not to have been cancelled,” the Act further explains.
“The provisions of a land settlement lease concerning the cancellation of the lease or of the Permit Regulations concerning the cancellation of the permit shall apply in the case of the failure by a lessee to pay any rentals.
“The amount of all rentals paid by the holder of an offer letter who becomes a lesse shall be deducted from any amount required to be paid by him or her in terms of the land settlement lease as arrear rentals from the time the holder occupied the A2 farm to which the lease relates,” says the Act.
A1 farm means a farm held under a permit allocated under the Model A1 scheme with minimum plots of three hectares described in the Land Reform and Resettlement Programme and Implementation Plan.
A2 farm means a farm under the 99-year lease allocated under the Model A2 scheme (the Commercial Farm Settlement Scheme), not exceeding the maximum farm sizes prescribed under statutory instrument 419 of 1999 or any other law substituted for the same) described in the Land and Resettlement Programme and Implementation Plan (Phase 2), published in April 2001 as re-issued and amended from time to time.