UNITED Liberal Party (ULP) President Sakwiba Sikota has commended Government for revoking the decision to increase land rates by 1,000 per cent.
Mr Sikota said in a statement released in Lusaka yesterday that land was a vital component in the development of the country which needed to be handled in collaboration with other stakeholders such as farmers.
He commended the Government for responding to concerns raised by farmers on rates and for revoking its decision to increase land rates by 1,000 percent.
“Currently, most of our farmers cannot afford to pay huge land rates because of limited use of land.
“While we appreciate that Government needs resources to administer land matters, there is a need to develop a system that will help to increase food production and meet the cost of land administration,” the statement reads in part.
Mr Sikota said the ULP hoped the decision not to increase land rates would lead to a system that could benefit both the farmers and institutions that administer land.
He said Government should reform the valuation of land Act to allow for some exemptions to community organisations such as charities involved in farming.
Some of the concessions on land rates could be provided to pensioners who decide to get into farming.
Mr Sikota suggested that peasant farmers that intended to get into commercial farming with land size from 50,000 hectares could be allowed to apply for exemption from paying land rates for two years.
He said Government could also put in measures to ensure there was no abuse of the exemption facility.
Mr Sikota said if land which had been subjected to exemption was alienated within six years of such exemption, the new owners would have to pay the exempted rates.
[ Times of Zambia ]