Agriculture

Govt sets aside $380 million for farmer compensation

GOVERNMENT has set aside an additional ZWL$380 million (about US$25 million) to compensate white former commercial farmers whose land was taken by government for resettlement.

The historic land reform programme saw the Zimbabwean government
compulsorily acquire vast tracts of prime agricultural land owned by a few white commercial farmers to resettle over 300 000 landless black families.

The pace setting land reform programme carried out by Harare became a
very emotive issue, with the West imposing sanctions on Zimbabwe for the bold move, which they feared could be replicated all over Africa.

Commercial farmers who lost land later demanded that they be compensated but the process has taken long due to resource constraints.

Government, has in terms of the Constitution, said it will only pay
for improvements made on the farms and not for the land.

A scheme for compensation is being worked out in conjunction with the
Commercial Farmers Union, which represents most of the former white
farmers.

Finance and Economic Development Minister, Professor Mthuli Ncube said
the evaluation exercise, to determine how much government is meant to
pay, was about to be concluded.

“To date, approximately 769 former farm owners consented to the interim payment scheme, with over 500 farmers having been paid,” he said while presenting the 2020 National Budget.

“In 2019, a total of ZWL$68 million was availed towards former farm owners and the 2020 Budget is also setting aside ZWL$380 million for interim land compensation in line with the Constitution and BIPPAs,targeting vulnerable groups and the elderly.”

Prof Ncube said government was also exploring other sustainable means
to mobilise the resources for compensation with international financial institutions.

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