50 government projects stall over land disputes

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KAMPALA. Fifty major infrastructure projects worth billions of shillings are running behind schedule and have caused government astronomical losses due to delayed land compensations to project-affected persons.
The Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Ms Betty Amongi, said the projects have also caused the government a loss of $97m (about Shs350 billion) due to the various cases against government which were filed by the contractors whose equipment has been idle for long.
A ministerial statement on the proposed amendment of article 26 of the Constitution on land acquisition names nine cases which have been brought against government by companies whose projects have delayed due to legalities on land compensations to project-affected persons.

“In just two financial years 2016/17 and 2017/18, fifty big infrastructure projects have stalled and cost government a total of $97m due to idle equipment. This is the loss we want to avoid as government for the good of our people. That is why we are tabling this Bill to amend article 26 of the Constitution,” said Ms Amongi.
She was addressing the press at the Media Centre yesterday on the status of the proposal to amend Article 26 of the Constitution to facilitate faster land acquisition for government projects.

She said under the proposed Land Act amendment, the government will compulsorily take over private land for purposes of carrying out national development projects such as roads and other infrastructure.
“Compulsory land acquisition is the power of government to acquire private rights in land for a public purpose, without the willing consent of its owner or occupant,” the ministerial statement reads in part.
She explained that the current amendment tabled before Parliament is meant to find a suitable way to resolve disputes arising out of the valuation of the private land by the chief government valuer for compensation.

“Where the owner of property or any person having interest in or right over property objects to the compensation awarded under the law made under clause (2)(b), the government or Local Government shall deposit with court for the property owner or any person having an interest in or right over the property, the compensation awarded for the property, and the government or Local Government shall take possession of the property pending determination by the court of any dispute relating to compensation,” the amendment Bill reads in part.
The Bill states that the owner of property or a person having interest in or right over the property shall access the compensation deposited with the court at any time during the determination of the dispute.
The Bill also stipulates that Parliament shall make a law prescribing the time within which any dispute on the land compensation shall be determined.

The chairman of Uganda Land Commission, Mr Baguma Isoke, explained that the proposed law takes care of interests of owners of customary land, leased land, freehold and Mailo land.
“Even bibanja owners and licencees will be compensated separately from the land owners at a value determined by the government valuer,” he said.

UNRA Projects that have suffered delays due to

UNRA Projects that have suffered delays due to contested compensation

Projects under NWSC
Case 1. Kyambogo: Valuation was Shs 23,595,000 owner wanted in Shs15, 880,000,000.
Case 2. Kitante Road and Centenary Park NWSC work rejected in the area
Case 3. Shoprite – Ben Kiwanuka Street, management of Shoprite rejected NWSC work
Case 4. Land in Banda: Plot 1A – Plot 8A, Mukaabya –Owner rejected the compensation award of Shs79 million, wanted Shs1,150,856,789.
Case 5. Land in Kinawataka – Kasokoso: Valuer approved compensation of 135 project- affected persons majority of whom had crops and semi-permanent structures, 43 rejected compensation.
Case 6. Wayleaves compensation claims, outstanding compensation claims for various power lines for Rural Electrification Agency during 2010 and 2016 now stands at Shs18 billion but the Ntenjeru-Nakisunga-Mpatta-Naama power line, a property owner has demanded diversion of the line which costs Shs280 million.
Case 7. Standard Gauge Railway cases causing delays.
a)Ochieng Lawrence Vs Attorney General & Coordinator SGR HCCS 25 of 2016 at Mbale High Court. The complaint is about under valuation of his property. Hearing scheduled for August 22, 2017;
b)Apollo Jaramoji Ollo Vs Attorney General and Coordinator SGR HCCS 24 of 2016 at Mbale High Court. The issue is that the complaint is about inadequate compensation by SGR. Hearing scheduled for August, 2017.

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