The minister of lands, housing and urban development Judith Nabakooba has tasked the people in Lango Sub region to be keen on ensuring that their land is secure from the probable land grabbers.
Nabakooba made the remarks while speaking at Apworocero Primary School, Minakulu Town Council, Oyam District on December 17 where she handed over more than 2000 freehold titles under the Systematic Land Adjudication and Certification (SLAC) program.
The minister, who was received in the area by her Gender, Labour and Social development counterpart, Betty Amongi, who is also the Oyam South MP, and other leaders, said one of the government’s commitments in the NRM Manifesto is to assist land owners acquire land titles to the land in order to curb land disputes and evictions and also to protect citizens from the consequences of lack of land registration.
“Utilise the land and use it safely. Use your titles to do productive activities and not to get bank loans, or use it in bars as security,” she said.
She asked the locals to keep their titles from all those that may want to dupe them into making transactions by using the titles as security. This, she said, will make them eventually lose the land to scammers and opportunists.
“To the new registered land owners, I urge you to use your titles to generate more wealth now that it is safe from disputes. Avoid fragmenting and subdividing your land because it may become less productive with time. Do not sell it but put the certificates to productive use through accessing credit in order to transform your families and the nation at large.”
She added: “Guard your titles jealously and ensure they are under lock and key. This is the beginning of a new generation of landlords powered by the government of Uganda.”
Nabakooba explained that the government has put in place a deliberate effort to roll out a national program of systematic land titling with support from the World Bank, through the Competitiveness Enterprise Development Project (CEDP).
She revealed that the Lira MZO still has many pending applications to be processed and they have put in place measures to quicken the processing which include streamlining the land titling procedures to enhance the speed of processing these titles at the Lira Ministry Zonal Office and the Data Processing Centre in Entebbe.
“We are going to work hard to deliver the remaining titles. I am instructing the officers from my ministry to share the lists of the titles brought today with the local leaders so that they (local leaders) can share the same with the locals,” she said, urging all those that have not yet paid the Shs72,000/= as registration fees to do so to get their titles.
“My team is going to stay in the region until all titles have been given out. I expect a report from the RDC and mayor once this exercise has been completed in the region. I want to thank our Development Partner, the World Bank, other stakeholders and interested parties for supporting the government to achieve its pledges to the people to secure land titles.”
Mr Johnson Mukaga, the Project Coordinator CEDP, Ministry of Lands, housing and urban development shared that for the Oyam Circuit, the ministry has over 34000 applications approved for titling in the DPC.
Out of this number, the ministry has printed 2000 certificates of title for the applicants who have paid the mandatory statutory fees of Shs50,000 for assurance of the title and Shs15000 for Deed Plan.
“This means that over 32000 applicants have not yet paid the statutory fees for land titling. This has a very big impact on the ministry’s plans to effectively and systematically generate and print the certificates of title for the beneficiaries in this region, though we have now started to put a government charge as an encumbrance for non-payment,” he said.
Mr Mukaga shared that for the ministry to achieve the project targets of completing generation and printing of the remaining over 32000 titles, they urge the beneficiaries to pay the mandatory fees timely to enable the ministry expedite and complete the titles covered under the project in Oyam Circuit successfully.
According to Rtd ASP Hope Atuhire, the RDC of Oyam District, the program is still in the region but a number of people have embraced it.
She shared that it (the program) takes into account women to be big beneficiaries.
“It will ensure food security because people will now have a title to their names. Oyam people are very hardworking, we expect a lot of land usage and bumper harvests. Majority of the beneficiaries have not paid the statutory fees but now that they have seen their friends getting their titles, they will pay,”she said.