Three-day ultimatium given to land owners to settle Sh 12bn arrears

Wednesday June 12 2019

The Minister for Land, Housing and Human

The Minister for Land, Housing and Human Settlements Development, Mr William Lukuvi, addresses representatives of public and private entities and other major land owners in Dodoma yesterday. The government has embarked on a campaign to recover over Sh200 billion in unpaid land rent. PHOTO| EDWIN MJWAHUZI 

By Samuel Kamndaya @TindwaSamuel stindwa@tz.nationmedia.com

Dodoma. Land, Housing and Human Settlements Development minister says he will reveal the names of 666 land owners who have accumulated a total of Sh12 billion in land rent arrears.

“I have a list of 666 land owners, including some wealthy individuals, who have accumulated a total of Sh12 billion in land rent arrears. I will reveal their names in three days from now if they do not pay,” Mr Lukuvi said here yesterday.

He spoke to The Citizen shortly after he met representatives of 197 out of 207 public and private institutions and companies as well as owners of industrial and commercial plots with accumulated land rents arrears totaling to Sh200 billion.

He said after bringing the 197 to a meeting, they agreed to reconcile the arrears and ensure that the money gets paid within nine days.

“If some of these wealthy individuals are here, they would better start paying before I shame them in the next three days,” he said.

The meeting for ‘land rent defaulters’ who were mostly representatives from public institutions, was well-attended. The participants unanimously resolved to reconcile their numbers with those of the ministry and effect payments within nine days.

According to the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Land, Housing and Human Settlements Development, Ms Dorothy Mwanyika, the ministry’s records show that most public institutions have not paid land rent, with some accumulating them since 2012. The top ten public institutions and the amount of land rent that they had accumulated during the years include: TTCL Corporation (Sh40.2 billion), Tanzania Electric Supply Company (Sh25.5 billion) and the National Ranching Company Limited (Sh23.4 billion).

The list also includes: the National Development Corporation (Sh17 billion), Sokoine University of Agriculture (Sh10.7 billion), Tanzania Investment Centre (Sh9.1 billion), Tanzania Airport Authority (Sh8.1 billion), Kibaha Education Centre (Sh5.5 billion), Tanzania Railway Limited which has since been merged with Reli Asset Holdings to form Tanzania Railways Corporation (Sh4.016 billion) and Tanzania Cotton Board (Sh3.8 billion).

The institutions are required to pay the money by June 20, 2019.

“Starting June 21, we will start sending some of you to court and confiscating some of the properties using the brokers, to whom we have already given the assignment until you pay. You are required to pay by June 20, 2019,” he said. Mr Lukuvi had no kind words for the defaulters: “I did not invite you because I know you. I invited you because of the records that I have which show that you have accumulated arrears in land rent….You are here so we can talk and ultimately, you must pay in accordance with the law,” he said.

For those seeking exemptions, Mr Lukuvi said, he did not have the legal mandate of exempting anyone from payment of land rent but asked them to read the Government Notice (GN) Number 347 which was published on April 26, 2019.

“For those who believe they deserve the exemption, they should read GN 347 of 26th April, 2019,” he said.

The GN shows who deserves to be exempted.

Under the GN, the exemption goes only to those institutions that do not use land for profit-oriented undertakings.

“You cannot own a school and claim that you are not doing business. We want to be sure that in everything you do, there is no business element. If you believe you deserve the exemption, just fill the form,” he said noting that the exemption does not involve arrears but that it only applies to those who own land and have not been doing business on it from June last year in line with the 2018 Finance Act.