Opinion
Time for land fraudsters is over
Publish Date: Jun 19, 2014
Time for land fraudsters is over
Lands minister Daudi Migereko
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By Hon. Daudi Migereko,
Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development
 
Remarks by the minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development at the launch of the Uganda National Land Policy on June 13, 2014 at Hotel Africana, Kampala 
 
Today is an important day in the history of Uganda, when we are launching Uganda’s National Land Policy.
 
We all know the importance you and the NRM Government attach to land as a basic need for the livelihood of most Ugandans, and also as a factor of production. 
 
Sir, your commitment to ensuring the Cabinet approval of this policy was reflected in the six special Cabinet sessions that you personally chaired and provided guidance on how to resolve Uganda’s land question.
 
This policy is a milestone in the management and development of the land sector in Uganda. It provides a framework on how the land resources in Uganda will be utilised, managed and governed, for the country’s economic growth and development.
 
Your Excellency, when this policy is implemented, the interventions articulated therein should transform Uganda into an industrialised country with a vibrant services sector.  
 
Your Excellency, the policy proposes a number of land reforms, which aim at improving service delivery in the sector. I will not be able to go through all the proposed reforms, but will point out the priority actions we intend to embark on in the first three years of policy implementation.
 
1. Establishment of the policy implementation unit/secretariat to spearhead the implementation of the land reforms;
 
2. Reinstatement of measures to address the rampant and escalating land disputes and conflicts;
 
3. Implementation of institutional reforms required for effective and efficient delivery of land services, such as restructuring my ministry to be able to handle the new mandates as proposed in the policy;
 
4. Carrying out capacity-building programmes for the land sector institutions and other stakeholders to be able to understand, appreciate and make use of the proposed land reforms;
 
5. Protection and improving women’s access and secure their rights to land;
 
6. Undertaking legislative and regulatory reforms related to the land sector; and
 
7. Carrying out land related research and studies to be able to inform policy implementation. 
 
Sir, to be able to implement the above priority actions, we will require $77m. We seek your support in securing these funds. The implementation of the National Land Policy shall also necessitate the restructuring of the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development to position it and enable it carry out its allotted functions. It will also require retooling and reinventing our ministry staff. More importantly, as managers and staff, we shall have to adopt a positive attitude to the policy, our work and the new technology as well as changes which are being introduced in the sector. 
 
If we can do this, our image and capacity to deliver will be enhanced. After we computerised, it is wrong for any officer to deceive our clients that you are looking for the white page and files yet these are already computerised. Those who are doing this and are also involved in fraud, if you do not change, your days in the ministry are numbered.
 
Your Excellency, to augment the land policy, some reforms aimed at improving service delivery are being put in place. They include; the implementation of the Land Information System, which is now operational in the six ministry zonal offices of  KCCA, Wakiso, Mukono, Jinja, Masaka and Mbarara. Our clients from these regions no longer have to come to Kampala to access land services such as processing land titles. The coming financial year, we intend to open seven new ministry zonal offices in the districts of Arua, Gulu, Lira, Masindi, Kibaale, Kabarole and Mbale. Your Excellency, these ministry zonal offices will be providing similar services offered at the ministry. 
 
There is now no acceptable reason for the citizens of Uganda not acquiring land titles to their land. The titles will enable all of us to participate in the modern economy and truly use our land as a bankable asset. This will ensure that commercial farming is supported in line with the NRM Government vision.
 
The time of processing a land title has now reduced greatly as a result of computerisation. We are also issuing computerised land titles which have enhanced security features as a way of stemming forged titles. Your Excellency, National Land Information System Centre located on Plot 10 Lourdel Road is also operational. It is a one stop centre on land related information in the country, with an electronic record of all land transactions. Sir, I am convinced that once we sort out the human factor, we shall be able to render efficient and effective services thus meeting the expectations of our people. 
 
Your Excellency, the Land Fund Regulations were recently approved by Cabinet to guide in the accessing of the land fund by bibanja owners to be able to regularise their land ownership status and also resettle the landless. We hope that with the implementation of the land fund regulations; we shall be able to address the escalating land disputes and conflicts in the countryside. As the economy continues to perform well, the land fund should be adequately capitalised to meet its statutory obligations.
 
We have also embarked on the process of reviewing/amending land related laws, some of which are outdated, in conflict with the Constitution or are not compliant with the new land policy. Some of these include; Registration of Titles Act, Survey Act, Registration of Surveyor’s Act, the Land Act, Land Acquisition Act, and the new ones include Uganda Land Commission Bill, Land Information and Infrastructure Bill (LIS), among others. 
 
Your Excellency, you recall the Government enacted the Physical Planning Act, 2010 which declared the whole country a planning area. We are faced with the challenge of some urban areas not having physical development plans and where they are in existence they are not being implemented in the manner that we would want to see.
 
In some cases this is due to lack of funds while in others it is due to the failure to appreciate the importance of physical planning.
 
The Government with the help of the World Bank is now assisting municipalities to implement their physical development plans through the Uganda Support to Municipal Infrastructure Development (USMID) project. Under this project, 14 municipalities of Mbarara, Fort Portal, Kabale, Gulu, Lira, Arua, Masaka, Mbale, Jinja, Moroto, Entebbe, Hoima, Soroti and Tororo are implementing key infrastructure projects which include constructing and upgrading roads, street lighting and other key public amenities. 
 
We are also in the process of coming up with physical development plans for Greater Kampala Metropolitan Area, Albertine Graben, Karuma satellite city and Buvuma Islands.
 
Your Excellency, we have also finalised the review of the National Housing Policy, which we shall soon be submitting to Cabinet for consideration.  Related to this, the development of the National Urban Policy and National Real Estate Policy are in final stages. All these policies have a bearing on how we manage and optimally utilise the land resources. 
 
We hope that when we undertake all these reforms, we shall be able to contribute to poverty reduction, wealth creation as well as wealth actualisation as outlined in our NRM Manifesto and Vision 2040.
 
With these remarks, it is now my pleasure to invite you, Your Excellency to address this distinguished audience and officially launch the Uganda National Land Policy.  
 
I thank you for listening to me.
 
For God and my Country
 

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