MoLHUD Holds 3RD Joint Sector Review

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By Regina Kayoyo

This month marked the 3rd Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development’s Joint Sector Annual Review. The two day workshop was organized together with a number of partners including Food Rights Alliance, Oxfam, ESAFF, PELUM, TracFM, the World Bank, and Transparency International among others. This year’s JSR was held under the theme’ “Industrialization and Job Creation through Planned Land Use and Tenure Security”, picked from this year’s Budget Strategy. Like is the purpose of other JSRs, this forum’s main purpose was to assess the performance of the sector for the past financial year and to plan for the next FY 2020/21 and in so doing provide guidance to the sector’s work in the country. This review forum brought together a spectrum of stakeholders not only from the Lands, Housing and Urban sector but from other ministries including the Ministries of Agriculture, Water, Energy among other government Departments and Agencies.

The forum was officiated by the Rt. Hon. Gen Moses Ali, 1st Deputy Prime Minister of Uganda. In his remarks, Gen Ali emphasized the role this sector has to play in helping the country attain its Vision 2040 and the country’s aspirations to be a Middle Income Economy by 2020

…”There is no way we can reach that status without the contribution of the sector…” he noted.

He called on participants to appreciate that for the country to develop, there is need for proper physical planning, to guide on proper land use, developments and human settlements among others.  He urged members present to always include the issues of planning for infrastructure like electricity, roads and railways whilst they discuss industrialization and job creation in this country.

The speaker further called for the fast tracking of policy approvals for pending polices like the National Land Acquisition, Resettlement and Rehabilitation Policy and the National Urban Solid Waste Management Policy among others which all have to be approved by Cabinet and implemented for the country to realize the National goals and objectives. He commended Development partners and Civil Society on striving to pursue more collaborative efforts to engage collectively with the sector in helping it undertake its mandate. He called on all Ugandans to commit to promoting security of tenure for all citizens regardless of their status, their religion or ethnicity, so that they feel safe to invest in the improvement of their land.

At the implementation level, among the most noted challenges faced by this Ministry over the years have included; issues of financing for the sector which has been at a decline for the past few years yet without this Ministry’s interventions in key sectors such as Roads, Energy, Agriculture, Oil and Gas, Tourism among others, the country may not achieve all its development goals. Vital interventions this Sector addressed like surveying, mapping, land development, physical planning, urban development among others require adequate funding and prioritization by the Government’s planning and budgeting. Other challenges include delayed acquisition of land for implementation of Government infrastructure development projects. This challenge has led to delays in Government projects which has culminated into the payment of huge penalties in form of fines and compensations.

At the community level, an increased demand for land in Uganda has skyrocketed market prices which has inadvertently increased the merchantability of land, enticing more people to buy and sell land. However, this has also led to a surge in land frauds, conflicts, wrangles, land grabbing, illegal evictions and many other forms of land conflicts which has become common place. Challenges in the limited government’s capacity to implement the already existing policies and resolve land disputes, coupled with citizens limited awareness of their land rights has ultimately decreased the performance of this sector. Civil society called on the Ministry to increase partnership efforts with other like-minded stakeholders who offer land related services in the country. In addition, CSOs called on the Government to increase funding to the sector to amplify their efforts across the country.

Among the commitments made by the Sector for the next financial year included; strengthening private sector capacity to deliver affordable housing; strengthening the role of government as a key player in housing delivery; mainstreaming building standards in the sub sector; fast tracking the development of the real estate agents and management Bill to regulate the real estate industry; reducing slums and reducing the housing backlog.