Wednesday, February 8, 2012

LandNet Rwanda Chapter Consultative Meeting on Land Lease and Land Taxation, 09.-10.02.2012

Current situation

The Rwanda Natural Resources Authority (RNRA) anticipates completing the land registration and issuance of title deeds by December 2013. These title deeds come with an obligation of the land owners to pay an annual land lease fee, with exception of land owners in rural that have less than  2 ha and use land for agricultural activities. However, whereas the provision make a lot of sense in terms of ownership and citizens responsibility, the implementation of this obligation for paying lease and determining on who is exempted has recently created some confusion especially for the majority poor rural. There is also the issue of property tax, as provided for in law no.59/2011 of 31/12/2011, establishing the sources of revenue and property of decentralized entities and governing their management. Hence, there is a general confusion in understanding what tax or lease to be paid; who pays the tax and lease; and who is exempted. These are the issues LandNet  Rwanda Chapter wish wishes to table for public dialogue, so as to contribute to the ongoing land reform in the country.

Therefore, given this confusion which has mainly been raised by the majority rural population who have been asked to pay lease for their land in a situation that is not clear enough, since end of last year Prime Minister Pierre Damien Habumuremyi, has moved a campaign for the responsible ministries to clear the public confusion on these process of land lease and land tax. This was one of the big issues, in the last National Dialogue of December 2011.  

“We need more time to create more awareness among the population about the importance of paying the lease fees. There is a need for clear assessment of the process to remove any irregularities. The government doesn’t want this to be seen as a burden on its citizens but rather a tax which is affordable to everyone. As a government, we put the needs of the citizens first,” Habumuremyi said, ordering an immediate assessment of the payment procedure.

This is a move that is appreciated by LandNet Rwanda Chapter, and committed to support the population in understanding the process in the interest of their land rights.

Points of public discussion

  • Fees compared to the value of land itself.
  • Identification of people classified as ‘poor’ or ‘needy’ whose land is next to neighbourhoods classified as ‘high end’, especially people who originally lived in the city.
  • Land that is not more than 2 hectares and used for agricultural purposes should not be taxed.
  • People with land in the city considered as “rural” and not more than 2 hectares, should not be taxed, unless the owner wants to change the land for commercial production.
  • City resident’s land which is registered for residential purposes but is used for agricultural production.
  • Categorization of wetlands
  • Sensitization of the population on the taxation procedures.
LandNet Rwanda Chapter's contribution 

It has become clear that the discussion and confusion about land taxation and land lease is a public concern which comes out as a national issue.  As contribution of the Rwandan Civil Society, LandNet Rwanda Chapter, in its role as an advocacy network is organizing a two day consultative meeting on Land Lease and Land Taxation on 09th and 10th February 2012 at Umubano Hotel in Kigali as an opportunity for dialogue between the grassroots, civil society, local administration and policy makers on the best procedures for the land lease and land tax.

This consultative meeting is very important as land is key towards the achievement of economic poverty reduction and sustainable peace in Rwanda. Participants for this meeting will be drawn from a wide representation in the country from decision makers to local leaders, grass roots community and Civil Society. Your input is highly valuable in these important discussions.

Expected outcome

As seen from the meeting agenda, different sub-themes, and current issues related to land taxation and land lease will be discussed, mainly emanating from the actual issues affecting community members from the grassroots based on community testimonies and studies. Groups drawn from participants will gather together to work on the important issues raised by participants. Finally a declaration will be put together guiding the way forward and comprising the recommendations made during the meeting, with a hope of influencing the process to clear the current public concerns.


Presentations will be made by different stakeholders, including one from Rwanda Initiative for Sustainable Development (RISD), as a civil society member of LandNet Rwanda Chapter.  Also presentations will be made by technical staff from the RNRA, KCC and MINECOFIN. Grassroots experience will also be shared based on experiences in relation to land rights and the impact of the LTRP especially in relation to the land taxation and land lease.

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