On the 13th of July 2017 at 14:00 hrs, ZYWNP received responses to the questions asked in the letter submitted to the Mutoko District land office on the 12th of July 2017 at 11:00hrs. The response that we wanted more was on whether the Ministry of Lands has remitted the unit tax to Mutoko RDC and how much they have remitted to help us to assess how the unit tax has been used to promote community development through delivery of public services in the District.
The questions were as follows:
- How many A1 and A2 farmers are registered in the Mutoko district?
- How much is the unit tax that A1 and A2 farmers are entitled to pay as introduced by the Zimbabwean government in 2015, to the Mutoko Rural District Council?
- To what extent are the farmers honouring their obligation of submitting the unit tax?
- Since taking over a collection of the unit tax from the Rural District councils in 2015 has the Ministry of Lands, Land reform and Resettlement remitted to Mutoko Rural district council? If yes how much have you remitted to Mutoko Rural district council
The responses were:
- There are 4008 A1 Self-Contained (A1SC) farmers in the resettlement area which covers about 170 000 hectares.
- The unit tax for the A1SC is $5 per hectare per annum. $3 is for farm rental and $2 for development levy.
- The farmers are honouring to a less extend their obligations to pay the unit tax.
- Information concerning remittance of the unit tax has not been disseminated to the District office.
We were also informed that the Ministry of Lands, Land reform and Resettlement offices in Mutoko District would be closed as at 1 September 2017 due to Rationalisation.
ZYWNP wanted to know who would then be in charge of managing the land related matters in the District and which authority would be responsible for follow ups on payment and collection of land and unit taxes should the Ministry of Land close the Mutoko district office. We were informed that, the current situation was that when the Ministry wanted to go to the resettlements for any follow up, they would rely on the RDC for transport.
This according to ZYWNP shows that the Ministry of Lands currently does not have the capacity to collect taxes or do follow ups when there is a need to. The Ministry does not have systems in place to enforce farmers to pay their taxes either. Hence the ideal scenario as suggested by ZYWNP is to give back collecting of farmers’ taxes to the RDC.