Statement by Ministry of Lands on Compulsory Land Acquisition
STATEMENT BY HON MINISTER OF LANDS, HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT AT THE UGANDA MEDIA CENTRE ON THE NATIONAL DIALOGUE ON COMPULSORY LAND ACQUISTION IN UGANDA TO BE HELD ON 21st MARCH, 2019 AT SKYZ HOTEL, NAGURU.
On behalf of Government, I would like to inform you of the National Dialogue on Compulsory Land Acquisition in Uganda which is going to discuss the current proposals by Government and other stakeholders on upcoming reforms relating to compulsory land acquisition.
A new bill has been drafted on Land Acquisition, to bring it into conformity with Article 26 of the Constitution of Uganda. According to Government, the proposed bill is expected to facilitate expeditious compulsory acquisition of land by Government or Local Government to avoid delaying Government or Local Government infrastructure and investment projects, while at the same time, allowing for persons dissatisfied with the compensation amount awarded to resolve the disputes in court in the time to be determined by the laws put in place.
These proposals, will present a mechanism for Government to access land for development purposes without depriving the property owners the right to prompt, fair and adequate compensation, prior to taking possession or acquisition of the property.
I am aware that some provisions of the current Land Acquisition Act of 1965 were declared by the Supreme Court unconstitutional and inconsistent with Article 26 (2) of the Constitution in as far as they do not provide for prompt payment or fair and adequate compensation prior to taking possession or acquisition of any property by the State.
This created a gap in the land acquisition process and hence the need to review the whole Act to address these gaps. In the interim, Government put in place a framework to guide Land Acquisition in the oil and gas sector activities based on the current laws and best international practices to ensure that the process is transparent and at the same time allows no delays in the development of the necessary infrastructure.
Government is in advanced stages of developing the Land Acquisition, Resettlement and Rehabilitation Policy (LARRP) and is expected that this framework will address these key issues relating to land. The consultative process is ongoing and is expected to be complete by end of this year.
As you are also aware, His Excellency the President of the Republic of Uganda has traversed the country sensitizing the public on the need to reform land acquisition laws. This was in a bid to fast track implementation of Government projects, as any delay has negative impacts on Government in form of delayed service delivery, increased cost of investment, as well as increased interest rates paid on borrowed funds to undertake these infrastructure projects.
Therefore, today’s Press Briefing is to inform the nation that Government with support of our partners and Civil Society Organizations led by LAND net Uganda have planned a National Dialogue on Compulsory Land Acquisition to discuss issues relating to land acquisition and making recommendations to improve on both the policy development processes and the upcoming laws.
Every one shall be given an opportunity to look at the proposals in the Land Acquisition Bill, 2017 which Government proposes.
The Constitution Amendment Bill, 2017 was withdrawn from Parliament by Government and now the draft Land Acquisition Bill, 2019 is in place , which we are consulting on.
Further to this, the Land Acquisition law is going to be reinforced by the valuation law which is also in the draft form as we speak. With this upcoming National Dialogue on Compulsory Land Acquisition, this endeavor is timely in regards to the consultations that the government is making hence making it a win, win situation for both government and the people.
I therefore invite proposals and recommendations to Government on this draft which will benefit all Ugandans. I wish to thank the organizers of this dialogue; The Germany Embassy; His Excellency the German Ambassador, Landnet Uganda and officers from the Ministry for organizing this dialogue.
I thank you.
Hon. BETTY AMONGI ONGOM (MP) MINISTER FOR LANDS, HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT
20 March 2019