By Our Reporters
The Ministry of Lands Housing and Urban Development will roll-out an ambitious program to automate its services in a concerted effort to streamline the management of land affairs in  the country and stamp out corruption- Lands  Minister Judith Nabakooba has revealed.   The program is set to commence in March 1 2022.

While  addressing the media at the ministry’s headquarters in  Kampala  ,Nabakooba said that with the emergence of Covid-19 and the dotcom era, the ministry cannot run away from the automation of its services.

  “We have seen government agencies going online and we believe their services have improved. We believe that by putting our services online -it  will go a long way in reducing the congestion In the land offices but also handle complaints from members of the public in a timely manner,” she explained .  

According to Nabakooba the services set to be automated shall include: online submissions of  transaction documents; searching the status of transactions submitted; searching parcels;  searching titles; searching for  encumbrances (e.g caveats, mortgages and court orders). There shall  be systematic demarcation of land to issue freehold titles to citizens and full enhancement of the survey geodetic network for improved, faster, accurate and consistent  surveys.

  “All these interventions are promised in the NRM manifesto and must be delivered in the first two  or three years of the manifesto implementation.” She  called on Ugandans in remote areas and  villages to  use the online services and asked those that are unable to use the online services to  continue making use of  the MZO offices in their areas since both services are going to be provided.  

“We have created the  public and corporate portals because we have banks and institutions who want to access our services to verify and know whether documents are genuine and authentic .  So we believe that to those public and other institutions this will be  a convenient service.  

 Nabakooba promised that the ministry will in the new year 2022 continue to deliver on their mission of making the land sector work for every citizen. In that regard, she said the ministry has started on the process of cleaning up the law on land ownership. The current law indirectly ‘provided for dual ownership’ of land between registered owners and bonafide bibanja owners, something that has been the source of insecurity in many parts of  the country leading to loss of lives, property and unending misery.  

The proposed amendments to the land act will create more peaceful and harmonious communities  with the right conditions for every citizen to take part in the government’s efforts of wealth creation. Nabakooba said through the Uganda Land Fund, the Ministry is enabling several lawful and bonafide bibanja owners to acquire registered interests.  

This has been made possible through negotiated settlements with absentee landlords willing to sell off their interests to government. So far 33,036 acres have been  acquired securing the rights of occupants on this land and protecting them from eviction

  “Throughout this year, we shall continue to put forward these principles in all that we do. We shall  Endeavor to be transparent while minimizing any possibility of corruption in our work,” she said. By securing people’s rights to occupancy, the ministry is making it possible for everyone to have a place  they call home.  

In 2022, according to Nabakooba, the ministry will continue with its targeted efforts to ensure that the current housing deficit reduces significantly. She said 2022 is going  to be a busy year for many of the new cities and urban centers, as the ministry has commissioned several funding programs that will enable these areas undertake structural improvements in  a number of key areas.

“Under the Competitiveness Enterprise Development Programme, (CEDP AF), Customary land owners, who make up 80% of the unregistered land, are going  to have their land registered and placed in the Land Information System. The registration shall be at subcounty level in rural areas and divisions in urban areas,” she added.

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