KAMPALA – The Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development (MLHUD), Beti Kamya has reported an increase of UGX 50.2 billion of the land fund.
While presenting the sector’s performance of its commitments during the ongoing NRM Manifesto Week, Kamya revealed that the amount for the Land Fund was increased from UGX 42 billion to UGX 92.4 billion.
“Thus helping in resolving historical land injustices in Tooro, Buganda, Ankole and Bunyoro by buying land from absentee Landlords,” she said.
She added that so far 236,036 acres has been bought using the Land Fund and the land will be allocated to lawful and bonafide occupants and regularize their land rights.
She said the ministry acquired 33,036 acres of land from absentee landlords for redistribution to lawful and bonafide occupants.
“This adds to the stock of 236,036 acres of land that had been acquired,” she noted.
According to Kamya, 22 ministry Zonal offices (MZOs) have been established countrywide to take land services closer to the people.
“MZOs are located in the following districts; Kampala (KCCA), Mukono, Masaka, Mityana, Luwero, Mpigi, Wakiso (Wakiso-Busiro and Wakiso-Kyadondo), Jinja, Mbale, Lira, Tororo, Soroti and Moroto. Others are Gulu, Arua, Kabarole, Mbarara, Masindi, Kibaale, Kabale, and Rukungiri,” she said.
She added that MZOs are fully operational and functional and provide the same services as those provided at the Ministry headquarters in Kampala.
“The MZOs have tremendously reduced on the distance, time, and cost of doing business whilst carrying out land transactions,” she said.
The Minister further said all freeholds, Leaseholds, and Mailo titles have been digitalized and entered into the Land Information System (LIS).
“Certificates of Customary Ownership (CCOs) have also been digitalized,” she added.
The ministry concluded stakeholder consultations on the draft Land Acquisition Bill, 2019, which Kamya said it seeks to repeal the current Land Acquisition Act, Cap 226, and make the acquisition of land for Government infrastructure projects expeditious.
Under Systematic Land Adjudication and Certification (SLAAC), Kamya revealed a total of 17,265 Freehold titles are being processed for landowners in Oyam, Mbarara, Ibanda, and Kiruhura.
“This is intended to enhance the security of tenure for landowners, as well as for those interested in getting financial credit from financial institutions since they can be used as collateral security,” the minister noted.
According to Kamya the ministry further disseminated to stakeholders the National Housing Policy, 2016 which provides a framework for necessary development in the country in addition to enacting the Land Lord Tenant Bill 2019, which is awaiting Presidential assent.
Kamya further revealed that MLHUD formulated the National Urban Policy, 2017 which provides a framework for managing the urbanization process in the country.
“It also provides a criterion for declaring and upgrading urban centers,” she said adding that they are working with Local investors to invest in housing development through the provision of incentives like free land and technical advice among others.
The ministry is working with MFPED and BOU to be able to provide mortgages for housing development said Kamya.
She added that “Government recapitalized Housing Finance bank ltd to be able to provide mortgages for housing development.”
Kamya reported that the Ministry in collaboration with the Ministry responsible for Cooperatives is sensitizing members of the public on establishing housing cooperatives.
“So far, communities in the districts of Kyegegwa, Kabarole, Bundibugyo, Ibanda Kayunga, Mayuge, Buikwe, Kyazanga, Kiboga and Ssembabule have been sensitized, and mobilized into housing cooperatives,” she said.
“Sensitization and mobilization of other communities across the country is a continuous process,” she added.
Kamya revealed that MLHUD in partnership with the National Housing Construction Company is planning to implement the Kireka Slum Redevelopment project in Kireka-Banda slum area.
“The urban poor will be included in the planning, provision of views, decision-making and implementation. It is therefore an inclusive process,” said the minister.
She added that the overall objective of this project is to transform the informal settlement in Kireka into a well-designed and planned human settlement to enhance the urban environments and social-economic development through the adoption of mixed development approaches and development partnerships.
Just like any other ministry, Kamya says MLHUD faces among others a challenge of Inadequate funds for the Land Fund.
“It requires about UGX.1.76 trillion to resolve issues of tenanted land,” she said.
In addition, Kamya said there are limited regulation and coordination of the Housing actors i.e. real estate, land brokers among others.
“However, the Ministry has commenced on the process of drafting a Real Estate Agency and Management Bill, when enacted into law will regulate the Real Estate Sector,” she noted.