Govt directs districts on land
The move, according to lands minister Betty Amongi, is aimed at establishing the acreage of government land in the respe ...
PIC: Lands minister Betty Amongi
KAMPALA - The Government has directed district authorities countrywide to furnish the ministry of lands, housing and urban development with details of government land under their management.
The move, according to the lands minister, Betty Amongi, is aimed at establishing the acreage of government land in the respective districts and activities taking place on the land, among other things.
"We have communicated to all chief administrative officers and local government leaders to furnish us with details of government land under their management," Amongi said.
Appearing before the Parliamentary committee on physical infrastructure to present her ministry's budget framework paper for the 2018/19 financial year, Amongi said the Government has instituted measures to address the land issues, including setting up of a Commission of Inquiry into land matters.
"The mandate of the Commission of Inquiry is to help us come up with bigger reforms in the lands sector. We expect clear recommendations on policy reforms," Amongi submitted.
Amongi was flanked by state minister for housing, Dr Chris Baryomunsi, Uganda Land Commission chairperson Bagume Isoke and the ministry's technical team.
The minister was reacting to the committee's call for the ministry to develop a land inventory for all government land in the country.
The committee chairperson, George Nsamba (NRM), said an inventory will assist MPs in monitoring government land.
"We know that school and government land have not been surveyed and this has resulted in loss of government land, yet the Government needs more land to develop infrastructure for the public," Kumama noted.
He also asked the minister to provide a report of individuals who own big chunks of idle land in different parts of the country.
President Yoweri Museveni in December 2016 appointed a commission of inquiry headed by Justice Catherine Bamugemereire to probe an array of issues pertaining to the land sector in Uganda.
The commission was tasked with inquiring into "the effectiveness of the land law and process of land acquisition, administration, management and registration."
The eight-man commission came at a time of increased outcry over alleged fraud at the land registry, which has seen all sorts of anomalies, including issuance of multiple titles to a single piece of land.
The MPs were concerned over the omission of the controversial Land (Amendment) Bill in the minister's presentation to them.
Buliisa County MP, Stephen Mukitale, said the Bill made the Government unpopular and that it should have been included in the ministry's implementation plan of the next budget.
"You are silent on the remedy to revisit the Land Acquisition Act and it is wrong for us to assume that money can solve everything. If we do not refine the policies, whatever much funds we allocate to the ministry, we shall not solve land issues," Mukitale noted.
The Land Amendment Bill was greeted with resistance from a section of MPs and the public arguing that it is unnecessary.
The MPs argued that if enacted into law, instead of helping the Government acquire land for development, the proposed Bill will lead to more land grabbing and evictions in the country.
The Bill seeks to amend Article 26 of the Constitution for compulsory acquisition of private land by the Government before compensation, for government projects.
However, according to the MPs, it is not necessary to amend the Constitution for the provision, but rather establishment of a lands tribunal to deal with land disputes and related matters which may affect government projects.