Extension of Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) into Uganda will boost Bukedi sub region investments

As the Land Commission chaired by Lady Justice Catherine Bamugemereire called for the scrapping of Mailo land titles, the Attorney General John Muwanga has blamed the delay of the construction of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) in Uganda on the weakness in the land management laws.

According to the AG’s report for 2017, there have been delays in carrying out disclosure after securing approvals of the land assessment reports from the Chief Government Valuer (CGV) and that effecting payments to the beneficiaries has affected the provision of right of way for the construction of the SGR.

‘The delays are attributed firstly to delayed compensation where out of 3,481 Project Affected Persons (PAPs) planned to be compensated in 5 districts, only 2,053 PAPs had been compensated at the time of audit constituting 59% with 41% outstanding’, he says of the US$12.8 billion SGR project.

The report also sites delayed valuation were valuation of PAPs in four districts had not been completed.

“Therefore the process of compensating the PAPs could not start and slow rate of acquiring Right of Way (ROW) for PAPs that had been fully paid up…,” says the report, adding that slow progress of the project increases costs as PAP’s valuations tend to increase with each passing year.

The report further reveals that only 60km in Tororo and Butaleja districts had been demarcated, considering that 59% of the PAPs in the districts had been compensated already.

The Auditor General also observed that harmonization of implementation with partner regional states may not be achieved as some of the partners were ahead of schedule, which is likely to affect service delivery.

As a result, the Auditor General recommended that government ensures that the land acquisition process is expedited so as to enhance progress of the SGR project in line with the regional partners.