New town councils are continuously being created which prompts officers to take bribes as people put up structures with no proper plans
Members of Parliament have blamed the continuous creation of slums on poor physical planning and low funds to sustain the planning process at the local government level.
While meeting with the ministry of lands, housing, and urban development to discuss the Physical Planning Amendment Bill, which was raised on the floor of Parliament on March 8, legislators on the committee of physical infrastructure said lack of money hinders proper physical planning.
MP Emmanuel Ssempala, (Makindye-Ssabagabo Municipality) said there are no physical development plans because the municipalities cannot afford them as they have no money to acquire them.
"We were in a local sub-county a few years back and we have struggled to have a physical development plan, and we wonder how they are able to plan well with no money because getting these plans is expensive," Ssempala said.
He also pointed out the urgent need for proper planning; saying new town councils are continuously being created which prompts officers to take bribes as people put up structures with no proper plans.
George Wilson Nsamba (Bbaale County) who chaired the committee emphasised the need for the ministry to come up with a comprehensive structural plan for all districts.
"This is important and timely because when you look at our villages, they are becoming urban but without a proper plan, there will be slums everywhere," Nsamba said.
Nzoghu William Musabe (Busongora County North) said that the physical planning challenges are more financial and that the ministry should have told the committee that the money used to budget is little.
Isaac Musumba, the minister of state for urban development said that even if the ministry had the funds, there is no way it can get it down to the local government to assist due to the structural constitution.
"The Constitution says that the local government is responsible for recruiting the physical planners as well as providing their salary, it limits us from providing the help," Musumba said.
He told the committee that the ministry wants to create a provision for local governments to ask for and receive the help they need, at a cost.
"We are circumventing and saying the board may, at the request and cost of a local government through the district physical planning committee, urban planning committee or sub-county planning committee prepare a district, city, sub-county development plan," Musumba said.
"Since we cannot come in directly, the local government can write to the board if it has financial issues. We want it to be on paper that they requested and paid," he added.
They also want to amend sections like 43(d) of the act to provide for Parliament's direct oversight mandate in the physical planning processes and developments in the country, 47(a) to introduce a rewards system to local governments that observe proper planning while 47(b) sanctions a local government that is errant.
He added that amendments like sections 48(4) which ensures that where there are bad decisions made by local governments and municipals, an authority above reverse the bad decision.
The legislators advised the ministry to work hand in hand with other ministries and departments in order to have successful and proper physical planning, saying that it cannot operate successfully without involving them.