UPA (Utanian Press Agency)
Release: Monday, July 1st, 302 AP.
Law forbidding foreigners owning land in Utania
What's controversial, discriminatory, appeals to populists and nationalists and
comes into effect today? A law banning foreigners from owning any more land in
Capital control laws have virtually made it impossible for foreigners to buy
land in Utania, yet there are some. What worries the government most is the
possibility that land, taken from local Utani tribes, would be sold by the
white landlords to foreigners for big profits. Not least, it would be
unpopular, particularly amongst the constituents that elected the government.
It would also hamper the odds of getting the land back to its original owners,
and/or mean the profits of land sales would be made by someone other than the
Utani people who once owned it. It is also the first step in the President's
slow-moving land reform agenda.
Land reform was the rallying cry of Utani MPs when independence was granted
over two years ago, but the government has been nothing but slow moving on the
topic. President Okarvits does not know what to do, claim opponents and
analysts, something denied by his supporters who say he must "take a moderate
line" to keep everyone happy, and the rule of law intact.
The new law forbids non-citizens from owning land unless they are approved
residents. The biggest question then is how this will affect the foreigners who
already own land, and foreign corporations who need to buy land to establish
their factories in Utania. Will this new law prevent them from doing so?
Not at all. The Government has legislated a leasing system to provide the
stability that foreigners require. The non-transferable (and therefore it
cannot be bought and sold as a tradeable commodity) leases guarantee occupation
of the land for up to 99 years, with cancellation clauses available to the
"It provides foreign companies with the surety that they have this land for as
long as they need it, without having to invest millions of punds to buy it.
This frees their capital for the more essential job-creating investments of
plant and equipment", said Jurgen Hoff, the federal Attorney General. "We
regard this as a win-win situation for Utanians and for corporations."
Leases will be priced annually in accordance with land valuations, which are
typically 30% below market prices. Will cancellation clauses be available to
the government or seller who is leasing the land? Not easily, says the
Attorney General, except in cases of environmental destruction leading to asset
value loss, or ten year notice period, the leases will be "rock-solid" for the
And the government will be assured the vote of land reformers demanding action.
©UPA, 301 AP.
©Mike Ham, 2001. All rights reserved. No reproduction without, at least, tacit approval. ;-)