“If you drive on the streets of Mbarara, you may think you are in Dubai,” State Minister for Housing in the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development said on Friday as he presented Lands 2016-2021 achievements in the NRM manifesto.
Baryomonsi was highlighting infrastructure project in 14 USMID city/Municipal LGs of Arua, Gulu, Lira, Soroti, Tororo, Mbale, Moroto, Fort Portal, Hoima, Kabale, Masaka, Jinja, Mbarara and
Entebbe when he likened these regional cities to Dubai, one of UAE’s cities.
Other Lands ministry achievements, Baryomonsi said, are 22 Ministry Zonal Offices (MZOs) established (services closer to the people) and all freeholds, Leaseholds and Mailo titles digitalized.
Baryomonsi said certificates of Customary Ownership (CCOs) have been digitalized and that during the period under review, the ministry built a Records and Archival Centre at Entebbe, held Public Awareness Open days and Barazas on land matters, developed and disseminated land related information materials, established a One-stop Centre where search letters are issued in less than 2 hours, established 12 Continuously Operating Reference Stations (CORS) in the districts of Moroto, Masindi, Kibaale, Lira, Soroti, Gulu, Masaka, Mbale, Jinja, Arua, Entebbe and Fort Portal; all the 12 CORS have been linked to the National Control Centre (NCC), drafted Land Acquisition Bill, 2020; incorporated a total of 606 Communal Land Associations (CLAs), issued 29,969 Certificates of Customary Ownership (CCOs), mapped a total of 35,800 customary land parcels. Acreage of 21,500.3 ha, issued eviction guidelines during COVID-19 pandemic lockdown to protect occupants from illegal land, carried out training and capacity building for Land Administration institutions and collaborated with JLOS institutions and other stakeholders in handling land matters among others.
Baryomonsi added that the amount for the Land Fund was increased from UGX 42 billion to UGX 111.5 billion and that so far 259,204.1 acres have been bought.
According to Baryomonsi, the ministry also surveyed 7,035 parcels of land in Kibaale, Kagadi,Kakumiro, Nakaseke, Nakasongola and Bunyangabu districts and processed 2,975 certificates of title for lawful and bonafide occupants.
The rest are on process, he said.
The ministry is in the next five years expected to Implement the additional initiatives required to create an efficient and effective land administration system; Implement the National Land Policy and reform the relevant laws to be in consonance with it; Undertake systematic registration of individual and communally-owned land; Implement a programme of action for strengthening institutions and mechanisms for land dispute resolution and mediation at the Local Government level; Increase the amount of money allocated to the Land Fund; Continue to enforce the law to protect the rights of lawful and bonafide tenants; Implement the National Housing Policy to guide the development of housing, including social housing to address the housing deficit;
Attract international financiers to partner with government and the private sector to provide affordable housing finance and real estate projects in the country; Increase the role of the public sector in putting up houses in organized settlements both in rural and urban areas; Encourage the formation of a housing provident fund where workers make regular savings for them to build personal houses and support the development of housing co-operatives as a vehicle for delivering affordable houses among others.
Increasing land evictions, increased fraudulent land transaction, Inadequate Land Fund to resolve issues of tenanted land, limited Government land for development & high cost of land acquisition for development projects, lack of funding for operationalizing the Land tribunal system, encroachment on Government Land and other Eco fragile lands, high cost of building materials, high cost of mortgage financing, inadequate regulation and coordination of the Housing actors i.e. real estate, land brokers among others, escalating slums and informal settlements in urban areas, inadequate low cost housing to service the majority of Ugandans, limited integration of physical planning with economic & development planning and limited implementation of physical Development Plans among others are some of the challenges that dogged the Lands ministry during the period under review.
By and large, Baryomonsi says the ministry is satisfied with its performance and that they are ready to implement the 2021-2026 manifesto.
“We are satisfied that we have been able to implement our commitments as we prepare to go into 2021-2026,” Baryomonsi said.