KAMPALA – The Executive Director of the National Planning Authority (NPA), Dr Joseph Muvawala, has urged President Museveni not to sign into law the Landlord and Tenant Bill, 2018, saying it was brought in bad faith and intended to destroy the real estate business in the country.
The Bill, which has been welcomed by tenants and rejected by landlords, is awaiting the signature of the President to become a law after Parliament passed it last month.
But speaking at 7th economic forum organized by the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Uganda (ICPAU) in Entebbe on Wednesday, Dr Muvawala said with the law in its current form, the real estate business will no longer be profitable and many investors will abandon it.
He particularly added his voice to those against the clauses on the payment of rent only in Uganda shillings and the one that restricted landlords from evicting a defaulting tenant for six months.
“Another ambiguous clause in the bill provides for a one-year jail term for landlords who annoy tenants, without explaining what annoyance actually means,” he said.
“It is high time you sold your rentals quickly. It will no longer make any business sense for one to stay with rentals and have a defaulting tenant you can’t remove for six months and be able to service your mortgage,” he added.
Dr Muvawala said some of the new Bills didn’t add value to the transformation of the country. “We have a housing deficit but you are trying to constrain investors,” he said.
He also okayed a decision to grant local investors a tax holiday to stimulate economic development.
“No country in the world has developed due to presence of foreign investors. Giving tax incentives to local investors, such as tax holidays for beginners are very important to stimulate economic development”, said Dr Muvawala.
He said just as foreign investors are given tax holidays and other incentives, while beginning their investments in Uganda, local investors too need the same treatment from Government.
“This is a National issue. We need to discuss it with various stakeholders, especially in regard to tax exemption for local investors,” he added.