By Esther Namirimu and Raymond Baguma
THE minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Daudi Migereko has advised Ugandans to support urban planning because it is inevitable if development is to take place.
Migereko who was on Thursday speaking during the fourth debate of the National Development Policy forum at Serena Hotel in Kampala, noted that residents of slum areas in Kampala are opposed to urban development.
He cited that neighboring countries such as Kenya and Ethiopia have embarked on slum redevelopment projects within the capital cities.
The debate was moderated by Vision Group Chief Executive Officer, Robert Kabushenga. It was organised by National Planning Authority in partnership with the UNDP, the World Bank and Advocates Coalition on Development (ACODE) to discuss land reform and investment in agriculture for socio-economic transformation.
Migereko said government has ushered in a favorable environment to encourage Ugandans to use their land productively. He added that Government would implement a public awareness campaign on the benefits of productive and optimal agriculture land use.
“It is not enough to have secure land rights but we must acquire modern technology to increase production in agriculture. Agencies like World Bank are increasingly getting interested in the role land markets play in agricultural growth and poverty reduction,” he added.
Earlier, Frank Byamugisha, the former lead land specialist for Africa at the World Bank, presented a paper about land reform and investments in agriculture for socio-economic transformation of Uganda.
Byamugisha advised government to remove restrictions on land rental markets, imposing a tax on unused land above 10 hectares and redistributing government and former public land that is not critical for use in producing public goods and services.
He also recommended strengthening access of youth and women to land through promoting early inheritance of land from parents by introducing social welfare support and pension programs for the elderly.
Naome Kabanda, Acting Assistant Commissioner of the Land Inspectorate Division said discrimination in land ownership is preventing women and youth from contributing to national development, besides being a violation of rights.