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Legal disposition to Acquire Land In Tanzania for Foreigner

Legal disposition to Acquire Land In Tanzania for Foreigner

Land is one of the most valuable things on earth and one of the most profitable investments all over the world. Countries all over the world have different rules, laws and regulation guiding possession or ownership of land. Many countries, however, restrict foreigners’ ownership of land. Those who by status are classified as foreigners are not allowed to have the same right to own land as citizens, while in some countries foreigners are not restricted to own land, they have the same rights as the citizen of the country. In Tanzania, the land use act of 1999 guides and regulate all land matters and possession to Land in the country which vest all the land in a state to the Governor of the state and any transaction and instrument under which an alien purports to acquire any interest or right over any land which has not been duly approved in accordance with provisions of ABC Attorneys be null and void and of no legal effect.

Mr. Friday, Managing Partner of ABC Attorneys, analyses the rules and procedures for selling land in Tanzania to non-citizens. One of the features or incidents of a Granted Right of Occupancy (GRO) is that it is capable of being subject of disposition. There are also a number of rules and procedure that need to be complied with in the process of the disposition of the GRO. For a citizen of Tanzania, the procedure is straightforward as provided for in the Land Act, 1999 and the regulations made thereunder. 

The procedure includes notification for disposition, obtaining approval from the commissioner and many other compliance requirements. However, when it comes to selling the same GRO to a non-citizen, the procedure becomes a bit complex and different. The difference arises from the requirement of the law which stipulates that a non-citizen may only obtain GRO or a derivative right for purposes of investment approved by the Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC). Furthermore, the law states in a mandatory tone that a non-citizen shall not be allocated or granted land unless it is for the purposes of investment under the Tanzania Investment Act. 

Thus we can say a foreigner cannot own land in Tanzania unless he wants to use that land for the purposes of or in connection to investment. And such ownership has to be subject to the approval of TIC. This means that for a citizen to sell directly his GRO to a foreigner might be taken as a ground for revocation of his GRO. Of course, the law clearly provides that the President must not revoke a GRO unless it is for the good cause. And one of the good causes as spelled out in the law is that if there has been an attempted disposition of a GRO to a non-citizen contrary to the laws of the land governing dispositions of GRO to non-citizen. 

Therefore we must be aware of the requirements of the laws before we attempt to sell our land to foreigners. Even though there are restrictions, it does not mean one cannot sell landed property to foreigners; the process of selling land to non-citizen is a bit complex as a non-citizen may only own land through TIC. Therefore, after a foreigner has earmarked a land he/she wishes to purchase and after he has agreed on the price with the vendor, the vendor has to surrender his title to the land so that it can be re-categorized as land for investment purposes, thereafter, the land will be issued to TIC who will in turn issue a derivative right in the form of lease to the foreigner. 

In contrast, in a county like Nigeria, no alien shall acquire any interest or right in or over land from a native of Nigeria unless the transaction under which the interest or right is acquired has been previously approved in writing by the Governor.It also provides that; where any such interest or right has been lawfully acquired by an alien, that interest or right shall not be transferred, alienated, demised or otherwise disposed of to any other alien, or be sold to any other alien under any process of law, without prior approval in writing by the Governor.

Furthermore, the act provides that; any agreement and any instrument in writing or under seal by or under which an alien purports to acquire any interest or right in or over any land (other than an interest or right acquired pursuant to the provisions of this Law and regulations or orders made thereunder) and which forms part of or gives effect to a transaction that has not been duly approved in accordance with the provisions of this Law shall be void and of no effect.

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