EFFECTING CABINET ENDORSEMENT: Lands, Housing and Urban Development minister Betty Amongi.

A cabinet meeting chaired by President Yoweri Museveni has endorsed the compulsory acquisition of any contested land for infrastructure development purposes.

In a letter by Savino Katsigaire on behalf of the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, he indicates that a number of development projects have stalled due to financial contestations between the Chief Government Valuer and the Project Affected Persons (PAPs).

According to the lands ministry official, in a bid to propel Uganda’s economy to a middle income status by 2020, the government has embarked on development of various infrastructure projects that require acquisition of land for implementation.

‘During a meeting chaired by H.E the President at Nakasero State Lodge on 21st June 2017, it was observed that a number of development projects are delayed due to contestation of the compensation awards approved by the chief government valuer and the project affected persons have stalled projects for a long period of time,’ Mr. Katsigaire wrote.

In the letter Mr. Katsigaire drew the attention of the other relevant stakeholders, informing them that Cabinet had approved amendments to Article 26 of the Constitution of Uganda, to pave the way for the acquisitions.

The addressees include the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development Dr. Stephen Isabalija; the Executive Directors of Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA), Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) and Uganda Investment Authority (UIA): Jennifer Musisi, Allen Kagina and Jolly Kamugira Kaguhangire, respectively.

Others are the Managing Directors of Uganda Electricity Generation Company Limited; Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Limited (UETCL); Uganda Electricity Distribution Company Limited (UEDCL) the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) and the Project Coordinator of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR).

‘Where the parties are unable to agree on the fair and adequate compensation payable under clause (2)(b)(I), the government shall deposit in court or with any competent authority the market value of the property as evaluated by the Chief Government Valuer and the government shall take possession of the property pending determination by the court or other competent authority of the disputed amount of the compensation,’ the Minister further writes.

The Minister added: ‘For the avoidance of doubt, the owner of the property shall not stop government from taking possession of the property where government has deposited the evaluated compensation amount referred to in clause , but shall have a right to claim the disputed amount that may be determined by court or other competent authority’.

Minister Amongi asks the addressees to provide her office with the requisite information including the names of affected projects, particulars of the PAPs, the cost implication to government and, the ‘percentages of PAPs contesting compensation awards approved’.