By Oscar Nkala:
The Zambian Ministry of Land says it has started processes to revoke up to 35 000 offer letters for land countrywide because the beneficiaries have not paid the relevant fees to secure right of ownership.
Lands Minister Jean Kapata said soon after revoking the offer letters and repossessing the plots, government would re-advertise and parcel out the properties to deserving Zambians who are willing to pay land tenure fees.
“We are in the process of withdrawing those offer letters and re-advertise the plots. The 35 000 in default are not only in Lusaka, but countrywide. We are owed a lot of money in land fees, which people are sitting on instead of paying to the government,” Kapata said.
The formal process of withdrawing land offer letters includes notifying and giving the beneficiaries a grade period of 90 days to make a feasible payment settlement plan. Failing that, a legal process of repossession is often considered as the next action.
According to Kapata, the non-payment of land fees is a huge draw-back on the implementation of national land titling and farming programmes. The government has also announced that with immediate effect, the issuance of all title deeds in Zambia will be centralised at the National Titling Centre in Lusaka.
She said the possession of title deeds offered several advantages to farmers, including use as collateral when applying for farm capitalisation loans at banks. Government also benefits through the collection of ground rental fees from land owners.