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Govt set to fully repossess, capitalize National Housing

Government has embarked on a process of fully repossessing National Housing and Construction Company, after which it will capitalize the company to be able to put up many affordable housing units.

This was stated by Dr Chris Baryomunsi, state minister for Housing, on Friday, May 7, 2021, at Office of the President auditorium. He was presenting the report of accountability on the lands, housing and urban development sector performance in regard to the pledges made in the NRM Manifesto 2016-2021.

Baryomunsi said because of the problems that followed the change of government in Libya, the 49 percent shares owned by Libya have become a challenge.

After government acquiring 100 per cent, he said, the company will be able to be the main national implementing agency for social housing for all public servants, low-cost/affordable mass housing and slum upgrade/redevelopment in all cities and urban centers.

It will also ably attract funding from government budgets and attract financing guarantees from government for multilateral project financing. Otherwise, the company, in the reporting period, has completed housing estate projects of 200 units at Namungoona, 176 units at Mbarara Municipality and 100 units at Naalya – Wakiso.

HOUSING QUALITY CONTROL LABORATORY

NHCC has established a Housing Quality Control Laboratory, a Housing Skills Development Centre and a Production Facility for affordable building materials for housing units in concrete, steel, aluminum and wood. NHCC is drawing designs for municipal housing estates.

It has completed designs for: 

  1. i) 10,000 low-cost units Satellite City at Bukerere in Wakiso
  2. ii) 15,000 lo- cost units at Kireka – Kasokoso – Kampala
  • iii) 10,000 low-cost units at Namungoona
  1. iv) 500 medium-cost units at Naalya – Kampala
  2. v) 4000 medium-cost units at Lubowa – Wakiso
  3. vi) 100 low-cost units at Tororo Municipality
  • vii) 500 medium-cost units at Luzira – Kampala
  • viii) 120 medium-cost units at Bukoto – Kampala
  1. ix) 320 medium-cost units at Bugolobi – Kampala

Regarding the pledge to “Create an efficient and effective land administration system”, the minister reported that 22 Ministry Zonal Offices (MZOs) have been established countrywide to take land services closer to the people.

These MZOs are fully operational and functional and provide the same services as those provided at the Ministry headquarters in Kampala. They have tremendously reduced on the distance, time and cost of doing business whilst carrying out land transactions.

MZOs are located in: Kampala (KCCA), Mukono, Masaka, Mityana, Luwero, Mpigi, Wakiso (Wakiso-Busiro and Wakiso-Kyadondo), Jinja, Mbale, Lira, Tororo, Soroti, Moroto, Gulu, Arua, Kabarole, Mbarara, Masindi, Kibaale, Kabale and Rukungiri.

CERTIFICATES OF CUSTOMARY OWNERSHIP (CCOS)

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. 

The ministry has carried out public awareness Open Days in partnership with CSOs at the MZOs for landowners, land users and the general public to verify land title information free of charge and dissemination of other land-related information.

It developed and disseminated land-related information materials in partnership civil society (in English and major local languages) for distribution to the public during the Land Awareness days. The materials include the Clients Charter, Access to Information Manual, posters, Eviction Guidelines, land registration procedures, complaints handling and many other simplified booklets.

Working with Uganda Registration Services Bureau, the ministry established a one-stop centre where search letters are issued in less than two hours.

Minister Chris Baryomunsi

Twelve Continuously Operating Reference Stations (CORS) have been established in the districts of Moroto, Masindi, Kibaale, Lira, Soroti, Gulu, Masaka, Mbale, Jinja, Arua, Entebbe and Kabarole. They have all been linked to the National Control Centre (NCC).

The CORS help the surveyors while carrying out surveys and mapping of land acquired by Government particularly for implementation of Government infrastructure projects like roads, way leaves, telecommunications, etc. They also help in the reduction of survey costs.

Government built a Records and Archival Centre at Entebbe, for safe custody of all land records and a National Land Information Centre; both are fully operational to support the development and implementation of the Land Information System (LIS).

On the pledge of “National Land Policy implementation and reform the relevant laws”, the minister reported, among many other accomplishments, they finalized the development of the National Land Acquisition, Resettlement and Rehabilitation Policy which addresses key issues relating to land acquisition, resettlement and rehabilitation of project-affected persons (PAPs).

Different levels action such as reviewing, drafting, and holding stakeholder consultations have been done or are ongoing regarding laws like the Land Acquisition Bill, 2019; the Uganda Land Commission Bill; the Valuation Bill, 2019; the Land Act Cap 227; the Registration of Titles Act Cap 230; the Survey Act Cap 232; the Surveyor’s Registration Act Cap 275; and the Architects Registration Act Cap 269. 

For the manifesto commitment “Systematic registration of individual and communally-owned land”, the minister reported that they issued over 20,000 Certificates of Customary Ownership (CCOs) to customary landowners in Kasese, Nwoya, Pader, Soroti, Katakwi, Butaleja, Adjumani and Kabale districts. He said CCOs induce high emotive feelings, making even old people cry on receiving them. 

COMMUNAL LAND ASSOCIATIONS REGISTRATION

Some 606 Communal Land Associations (CLAs) were incorporated as legal entities in order to be able to register their customary land in the districts of Kaabong, Kotido, Moroto, Napak, Amudat, Kakumiro, Masindi, Kikuube, Buliisa, Agago, Pader, Nwoya, Mubende and Kayunga. Only legal entities under the law can hold and own customary land. The total number of customary landowners registered under CLAs is 3,602,321.

A total of 20,883 customary land parcels covering 16,236.3ha for 20,294 households were mapped. 

Some 17,265 freehold titles are being processed for landowners in Oyam, Mbarara, Ibanda and Kiruhura under the Systematic Land Adjudication and Certification (SLAAC). This programme is intended to enhance security of tenure for landowners, as well as for those interested in getting financial credit from financial institutions (being used as collateral security). 

On “Strengthen institutions and mechanisms for land dispute resolution and mediation”, a Dispute Resolution Desk has been established in the Ministry which handles disputes related to land matters.

The government issued eviction guidelines during Covid-19 pandemic lockdown to protect occupants from illegal land evictions as a means of protecting people and their properties. 

Government established a Commission of Inquiry into Land Matters, which carried out investigations and a report is being prepared. The ministry prepared and implemented a Training and Capacity Building Plan for Land Administration institutions; inducted institutions in this plan; and trained all approved District Land Boards (DLBs) in the country.

On the pledge to “Increase the Land Fund”, Baryomunsi said the amount for the Land Fund was increased from Shs 42 billion to Shs 92.4 billion. So far, 236,036 acres have been bought using the Land Fund. The land will be allocated to lawful and bonafide occupants and regularize their land rights. An additional 33,036 acres have been acquired from absentee landlords for redistribution to lawful and bonafide occupants. 

RIGHTS OF BONAFIDE TENANTS

To “Protect the rights of lawful and bonafide tenants”, the following has been accomplished:

  • Over 300 land titles were processed and issued to lawful and bonafide occupants in Kibaale and over 300 land titles to tenants in Nakaseke district.
  • Regularized the land rights of lawful and bonafide tenants in Bunyoro (Kibaale) and Buganda region (Nakasongola and Nakaseke).
  • Working with GIZ (RELAPU), have carried out sensitization and mapping of tenants on Mailo land in Mityana, Mubende and Kassanda in the sub-counties of Bulera (8,963), Kikandwa (1,545), Bukuya (6,034), Kiyuni (3,579), Kakindu (1,010), Maanyi (5,750), Kiganda (4,311), Myanzi (4,734), Kigando (5,936), Nabingoola (5,686), Malangala (906), and Kasambya (1,900).
  • The first-ever batch of Certificates of Occupancy for bibanja owners on Mailo land for 200 households are ready for issuance in Kassanda (Myanzi sub-county).
  • Working with district leadership in Kayunga, assisted the tenants to acquire registrable interests for bibanja holders in the villages of Namusaala, Nakyesa, Kawolokota West, Kyatto 1-3, Kawolokota East, Namavundu A, Namavundu B, Namizo A, Namizo B, Bulawula A, Nkokonjeru A, Tweyagalire A, Kyato, and Kyetume 1-3 in the sub-counties of Kayonza and Kitimbwa. 

In the Housing subsector, the ministry has disseminated to stakeholders the National Housing Policy, 2016 which provides a framework for necessary development in the country; enacted the Landlord Tenant Bill 2019, which is awaiting presidential assent; and formulated the National Urban Policy, 2017 which provides a framework for managing the urbanization process in the country and a criterion for declaring and upgrading urban centres. 

The ministry is working with local investors to invest in housing development through provision of incentives like free land and technical advice, among others.

INSTITUTIONAL (PUBLIC SERVANTS) HOUSING

On the pledge “Put up houses in organised settlements”, the ministry in collaboration with the Ministry of Defence and Veteran Affairs developed a project proposal for the construction of 30,000 institutional houses for the UPDF; Defence is implementing the project.

Technical support has been offered to MDAs involved in housing development such as OPM, Uganda Police, Posta Uganda Ltd, CEDP, IRA, UAC, MoDVA, NCS, OAG and two district local governments of Nwoya and Amuru.

In collaboration with ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, 46 houses have been constructed in Buliisa for PAPs under the oil refinery resettlement project.

In collaboration with OPM, 200 houses have been constructed for landslide victims under the Kiryandongo Resettlement Project; presidential pledges comprising four individual housing units; eight staff houses and classroom blocks have been constructed for education institutions in Adjumani, Moyo, Katakwi, Ngora and Alebtong; under the Education Infrastructure for Karamoja Region project, classroom blocks and staff houses have been constructed in three schools; and implemented the Bulambuli resettlement project where 900 houses for the Bududa landslide victims were constructed.

Regarding “Formation of a housing provident fund”, the ministry is working with MOFPED and BOU to be able to provide mortgages for housing development. Government recapitalized Housing Finance Bank Ltd to be able to provide mortgages for housing development. 

On “Formation of housing cooperatives”, the minister that in collaboration with the ministry responsible for cooperatives, they are sensitizing the public on establishing housing cooperatives. So far, communities in the districts of Kyegegwa, Kabarole, Bundibugyo, Ibanda Kayunga, Mayuge, Buikwe, Kyazanga, Kiboga and Sembabule have been sensitized and mobilized into housing cooperatives. 

SUPPORT TO MUNICIPALITIES

Under the “Support comprehensive planning for both urban and rural areas to promote orderly development of settlements”, the minister reported:

  • Infrastructure sub-projects in 13 of the 14 USMID program participating Municipal LGs of Arua, Gulu, Lira, Soroti, Tororo, Mbale, Moroto, Fort Portal, Hoima, Kabale, Masaka, Jinja and Mbarara were commissioned including 110 urban roads of approximately 78.4km and four economic infrastructure which included two taxi parks in Arua and Tororo; one bus terminal in Moroto and one lorry park in Fort Portal Municipality.
  • Developed and disseminated Prototype House plans to technical officers handling the housing function in Mbale, Manafwa, Bududa, Sironko, Bukedea, Kumi, Soroti, Bulambuli, Budaka, Rakai, Lwengo and Kalungu districts. Prototype plans have helped in constructing houses that are on plan, in an orderly manner.
  • Issued housing standards for buildings to cater for the persons with disabilities and the older persons, and these are being disseminated to all districts through the MZOs.
  • Amended the Physical Planning Act, which declares the entire country a planning zone and strengthened the physical planning compliance where structures built outside the plan will be demolished and owners apprehended.
  • Empowered sub-county chiefs through provision of basic physical planning skills to enable them supervise physical development in their respective areas.

On pledge “Promote nucleated settlements in rural areas”, land has been identified housing development in the districts of Buliisa, Masindi, Hoima, Kiryandongo, Nwoya, Gulu, Nebbi, Arua, Zombo, Mbarara, Masaka, Jinja and Mbale. The ministry is engaging private investors to invest in real estate sector and housing development to promote nucleated settlements.

Though the manifesto pledged “Elevate the status of Arua, Gulu, Mbale and Mbarara municipalities to regional cities”, many more municipalities have become cities or put on a schedule that matures in 2023. These are Arua, Gulu, Mbale, Mbarara, Jinja, Fort Portal, Masaka Hoima, Entebbe and Lira, Moroto, Nakasongola, Soroti, Kabale and Wakiso.

On “Develop a National Physical Development Plan (NPDP)”, Uganda’s first National Physical Development Plan has been finalized with a comprehensive implementation strategy and awaits Cabinet approval. The NPDP will guide infrastructure and urban development in the entire country. The Albertine Grabben Physical Development Plan has been prepared, to guide developments and human settlements in the region. 

The ministry supported the preparation of District Physical Development Plans (PDPs) for seven districts of Kabarole, Bunyangabu, Bududa, Wakiso, Kikuube, Moroto and Nwoya to guide in developments and clustered human settlements.

The ministry commenced the process of preparing Master Plans for the 15 new cities. 

ECO-SATELLITE CITIES

It also gazetted Eco-satellite Cities, which include Nakigalala, Nsimbe, Mpaata, Buziranjovu and Bwebajja. The eco-satellite cities will reduce urbanization pressures from the main city. A detailed master plan for Nakigalala eco-satellite city has been completed.

On pledge “Set up a quality unit and information system for physical planning”, the ministry installed the Physical Planning and Urban Management Information System (PPUMIS) in 14 municipalities of Entebbe, Masaka, Mbarara, Jinja, Tororo, Soroti, Lira, Gulu, Moroto, Mbale, Kabale, Fort Portal, Hoima and Arua. Plans are under way to install it in the remaining municipalities. The installed PPUMIS has eased coordination in planning between the centre and the municipalities as well as accessing and sharing of spatial data among the municipalities.

For “Develop Physical Development Plans along the Northern Corridor Infrastructure Projects (NCIP)”, a Regional Physical Development Plan has been prepared comprising 17 districts of Gulu, Adjumani, Amuru, Nwoya, Oyam, Kole, Apac, Lira, Dokolo, Otuke, Agago, Pader, Kitgum, Lamwo, Alebtong, Abim and Kaabong. The plan awaits approval by the National Physical Planning Board.

For pledge “Re-tool the Directorate of PP&UD”, the ministry installed the Physical Planning and Urban Development Management Information System (PPUMIS) software to ease physical planning and urban management information management, sharing and coordination. It also procured drones to ease preparation of physical development plans and enhance compliance to land use regulations.

CHALLENGES

The minister listed ten challenges facing the implementation of the commitments as follows:

  • High cost of building materials which has affected the supply side of housing, and makes it difficult for the average Ugandan to afford decent housing.
  • High cost of mortgage financing; even where mortgage financing exists, the high cost of it coupled with the high interest rates on loans has greatly affected the housing sector.
  • Limited regulation and coordination of the housing actors (i.e real estate, land brokers, among others). However, the ministry is drafting a Real Estate Agency and Management Bill. When enacted into law, it will regulate the real estate subsector.
  • Increasing illegal land evictions.
  • Escalating slums and informal settlements in urban areas.
  • Absence of a housing database without which it’s impossible to match the demand side of housing with the supply side.
  • Limited integration of physical planning with economic and development planning.
  • Inadequate funds for the Land Fund. It requires about Shs 1.76 trillion to resolve issues of tenanted land.
  • Limited Government land for development and high cost of land acquisition for development projects.
  • Lack of funding for operationalizing the land tribunal system. 

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