via Greedy govt swindling us, farmers fume – New Zimbabwe 17/11/2015
THE Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) says the government’s recently gazetted law requiring farmers to pay rent and levies is a way of siphoning money from its struggling poor members.
CFU Director, Hendrik Olivier, said very few farmers, especially the A1 category, would afford to pay such levies considering that many of them are even failing to feed themselves.
“It is another way for the cash-strapped government to raise money; as farmers we are concerned mainly for those in region 4 and 5 because it is not easy for them to raise the money. We say $10 per hectare is too much,” Hendrik told Newzimbabwe.com.
“We are expecting drought this year and we feel that it is not correct to implement that law at this time,” he added.
The government last week published a law requiring all farmers with 99- year leases in regions one to five to pay rentals and a development levy.
According to the Finance Act, the levies will be used to set up infrastructure like schools, clinics, dip tanks and roads among others.
The minister of lands shall cancel the offer letter of any holder who fails to pay for three consecutive quarters, the law says.
A1 farmers will pay a $10 rental levy per year and a $5 development levy. A2 farmers on the other hand will pay a rental of $3 per hectare per year and a development levy of $2 per hectare per annum.
The levies shall be paid quarterly.
Farmers who spoke to Newzimbabwe.com expressed anger over the government’s new position, saying they were already burdened by other costs like electricity bills.
“We do not know how the government wants us to survive. Right now we have water and electricity bills but there is no production taking place in our farms due to several reasons,” fumed Martha Chisvo of Masvingo.
Another farmer who preferred to remain anonymous said the government has gazetted too many levies since independence and people can no longer cope with its greediness because all the money is going to other peoples’ pockets instead of contributing to the country’s development.