Parliament adopts national physical planning proposals

The lands and housing minister, Hon. Judith Nabakooba, had a good day by Parliament as MPs across the divide supported her proposals

The lands and housing minister, Judith Nabakooba, had a good day by Parliament as MPs across the divide supported her proposals

Parliament has rallied behind the Minister for Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Hon. Judith Nabakooba and adopted the ministry’s recommendations for the implementation of the National Physical Planning Act.

The proposals by Nabakooba during today’s plenary sitting on Wednesday, 11 October 2023, received overwhelming support as legislators found it prudent that a national physical plan is urgently needed to propel Uganda’s development.

Top on the minister’s suggestions is the establishment of a conditional grant for the physical planning function for all local governments as this will lift the burden of underfunding which results in low prioritisation exhibited through low budgetary allocations to develop/review and implement Physical Development Plans (PDPs), especially at sub-county and district level.

Additionally, the minister also suggested that the issuance of certificates of compliance to strengthen the implementation of PDPs would help strengthen the weak enforcement mechanisms being experienced nationally.

She disclosed that the national PDP, a first of its kind which was presented to the cabinet and approved will help in zoning and planning.

“Much as the focus is on towns, cities, and municipalities, the law which was amended declared the entire country, a planning area,” she said.

MPs across the divide agreed that indeed for Uganda to solve the issues of urban floods, sewage mismanagement and an absence of numbered homes among others, more effort was needed in the implementation of physical planning policies.

Buyanja East County MP, Hon. Emely Kugonza, reiterated the need for better planning saying that with the constant rise in the number of unplanned towns, the country is gradually turning into a slum.

Hon. Rosemary Nyakikongoro, the Woman MP for Sheema District, petitioned the minister to include agriculture in the plan because farmers were setting up crops and animal farms without proper direction.

The Chairperson of the Committee on Physical Planning, Hon. Dan Atwijukire, blamed the disorganisation in physical planning on corrupt officials, who he said, allow citizens to set up illegal structures in town dwellings.

“We must penalise the officials who are unlawfully allowing people to construct at night without physical plans. We want to do a survey to highlight buildings that are being erected at night. We need to criminalise these people,” added Atwijukire, also the MP for Kazo County.

The minister emphasised that the work of the ministry is policy and strategic guidance and that most of the work was to be done by the Ministry of Local Government.

She appreciated the establishment of the Physical Planners Registration Act which requires every district to have a registered physical planner. This, she stressed, will help rid out unqualified physical planners, thereby eliminating the problem of incompetent officials.

Nabakooba, however, noted that although some local governments have plans that expire, since the plans are usually for a period of 10-15 years, the ministry was looking into generating plans that last longer.

The Deputy Speaker, Thomas Tayebwa, directed that the minister returns to the House with an action taken report after three months.

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