President Yoweri Museveni has called for modernization of land management if economic growth which he anchored on four sectors of commercial agriculture, ICT, Industry and Services is to be realized.
He was speaking at the opening of the International conference on the implementation of Land Information Systems in Entebbe on Thursday.
Since 2013, the Government has been undertaking digitalization of land titles under the introduction and installation of upgraded software known as Land Information System (LIS) implemented with a 90-million-dollar loan from the World Bank.
The Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development has since 2013 been temporarily closing and reopening its Ministry Zonal Offices for LIS system upgrade and by the start of this year 2020, 22 Ministry Zonal Offices (MZOs) have had this system installed.
The computerized system has decentralized land governance with the establishment of 22 MZOs now operational across the country in Kampala, Jinja, Mukono, Masaka, Mbarara, Wakiso (Kyadondo and Busiro), Lira, Kabarole, kibaale, Arua, Gulu, Masindi, Mbale, Kabale, Mityana, Luweero, Mpigi, Tororo, Soroti, Moroto and Rukungiri.
While officially opening a two-day International conference on the implementation of Land Information System that is taking place in Entebbe, President Museveni said that the System will be good if it supports a shift in economic growth by ensuring thriving of commercial agriculture, ICT (information communications technology), Service Sector and Industry.
“We should plan for a modern multi-sectoral economy now. If you are in commercial agriculture, you are creating wealth and also creating jobs.”
“Industry/ manufacturing: if you build a factory you are creating wealth and also creating jobs,” said Museveni.
He further emphasized the service sector such as Hotels and Banks and ICT as other forms of wealth and job creation.
Museveni added that the system should support conservation and restoration of environment.
“And this means how to protect the shorelines of the lakes to ensure that people don’t cultivate up to the edge of the shores,” he said.
He added that as Uganda jumps to the above four sectors (commercial agriculture, ICT, Industry and services), land should be planned for accordingly.
“You cannot have houses around only for consuming. Whenever you are planning, make sure you plan around these four sectors.”
Although land services have been taken closer to the people through Land Information System, much more land is still unregistered as only 20% of 240,000sq miles of land in Uganda is registered.
This has facilitated incidents associated with land such as unlawful evictions, land grabbing among others.
While making his presentation, Moses Kibirige from the World Bank applauded the system for its tremendous performance in collection of non-tax revenue.
“The total revenue generated since the launch of Land Information System in February 2013 till June 2018 is about 192 million dollars. The Ministry used to collect about 2.6 million dollars a year. Now they are collecting 25. I have seen the real cash curve. That is land. And if it is fed properly, it can provide milk and money to all people of Uganda,” he said.
Christophe Dekeyne, the Chief Executive Officer of IGN FI which Ministry of Lands Housing and Urban Development engaged to implement the design, supply, and secure land records between 2010 and 2013 and 2015 to 2020 called the development a big achievement.
“I have to say it’s been a partnership story. It’s a win win story,” said Dekeyne.
The initiative involved the national roll out of National Land Information System that fully integrates land registration, land administration, surveying and mapping, physical planning, property valuation and finalized the process of transforming land records into digital format.
The National Land Information System has made profound contribution to the improvement of service delivery across the land sector with substantial reduction in the time required for land transactions, minimization of corruption, avoidance of double titling, avoidance of forgery of land titles.
Others include increase in number of land transactions, decentralization of cadastral and registration services, improvement in quality of records and their management, instant retrieval of land related information, better service delivery to the stakeholders among others.
Approximately, over 700 billion shillings has already been generated from land related transactions since its launch in February 2013 to June 2019.