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Registration board frustrating surveyors
Publish Date: Aug 13, 2009
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By Ronald Luberenga

I would like to add my voice to the public outcry on the terrible way the surveying profession is being run. Over the years, various qualified surveyors have been deliberately denied registration by the Surveyors Registration Board. The qualified surveyors have made various applications for registration which the board keeps rejecting.

Many of us graduated from the university many years ago and have been so disappointed. Since 1994, over 250 surveyors have graduated from Makerere and Kyambogo universities. However, it is interesting to note that of these, only 12 have been registered.

One wonders why the rest have been rejected. It is illogical to spend many years at school and be frustrated unnecessarily in the field. I have completely lost faith in the profession and I know many surveyors who have joined other organised professions.

Some people have even gone to court, like Moses Murungi who sued the board and was recently registered. It is our right to practise in this country. Why does someone need to go to court to be registered when he is fully qualified both academically and professionally? This is really ridiculous.

For land surveyors, currently it is law that one has got to have a recommendation by the commissioner of surveys and mapping in order for them to be considered for registration.

However, this requirement presupposes that whoever is registered must be a cadastral surveyor. In effect the requirement ignores all the other facets of land surveying for example engineering, hydrological and mining surveys.This is shocking and unfair as there are so many competences which should be recognised.

The Institution of Surveyors of Uganda which should embrace the surveying fraternity has not done enough to attract graduates and other interested people to join the profession.

The institution has failed to come up with a clear procedure for training people to become professionals. We have no logbooks and no examinations held to assess someone’s competence. It should be made a law that when one becomes a professional member, he should be entitled to registration with the board, just like it is in our sister institutions like Uganda Society of Architects.

When one becomes a professional member, he has the professional competence required. However, the Surveyors Registration Board wants to vet you further before registration. Why? This shows the board does not have faith in our institutions.

The second vetting by the board is the reason many surveyors have lost faith in the institution and shunned its activities. The board, in accordance to its mandate, should regulate and control the profession of surveyors and activities of registered surveyors within Uganda. The institution should train and vet prospective surveyors to meet the required standards in their quest to be registered. This is also done to the architects.

According to the list published this year, there are only 84 registered surveyors in Uganda. With a lot of land problems and the building industry booming surely these are too few.

The funny thing is, last year the list had 83 registered surveyors. So the board registered only one more surveyor in 2009. Much as qualified nationals are denied registration, some foreigners are registered.

Interesting to note is that most members of the surveyors board have private companies. The fear of competition from young surveyors has resulted in them being denied registration. The board should be disbanded to pave way for a new and more professional one. The system needs an overhaul.
The writer is a surveyor in private practice

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