On the heels of immense outcry over the avalanche of tax increases and the introduction of new expenses being instigated by Government, persons are now likely to also pay a higher fee for the rental of lease lands.
A land re-evaluation exercise will soon get underway with the aim of assessing the current market value of all state-lands in order to increase the fees for the rental of lease lands in accordance with the present market value.
Minister of State Joseph Harmon made this disclosure on Wednesday during the Parliamentary Standing Select Committee on Natural Resources, chaired by parliamentary Opposition People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Member of Parliament Odinga Lumumba.
The Minister of State spoke on matters related to land titling, climate change and Information Communication Technology (ICT).
Harmon explained that Government is moving to put in place a land classification system to develop and implement a classification methodology for revision of rental rates, based on assessments of the market value of land.
Lease lands are commonly used by investors for industrial and agricultural purposes, and they stand to bear the brunt of these increased fees should Government proceed with this initiative.
Harmon indicated that the fees presently being charged are well below market value and as such, Government needs to ascertain the lands’ true value so that the right amount can be paid.
“If you look at the price paid for one acre of State land to the Lands and Surveys Commission, then you will understand what I am talking about,” he reasoned.
He pointed out also that in areas where the land rates have been significantly low, large enterprises still failed to pay those rates over the years which resulted in difficult circumstances under which the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission (LSC) had to operate.
He posited that the intention of the Government is to ensure the LSC becomes a profitable entity with little to no dependency on Government funding.
“We have to change that and we have to ensure that the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission is a profitable undertaking and one that can stand on its own feet without having to have too much Government intervention,” Harmon stated.
Already, Government has increased property taxes, gun licence fees, operating licence fees, introduced container taxes, University of Guyana graduation fees, and registration fees for Government schools, among others. (Devina Samaroo)