UGANDA, Kampala | Real Muloodi News | The National Land Information System (NLIS) is among the most modern and comprehensive land information systems found anywhere in Africa.
Christopher Burke is the Managing Director of WMC Africa, a communications and advisory agency in Kampala, Uganda. He has had over 25 years of experience working on communications, development, governance, and peace in Asia and Africa.
The NLIS has been in operation for nine years, and it uses its exclusive features to improve security and service delivery.
He says that land management systems require enough time and investment. There is a need for legislation, infrastructure, and human resources to operate and maintain them.
How Uganda is Benefiting
In 2022, the Minister of Lands, Judith Nabakooba, launched the NLIS public portal that allows members to search and obtain quick results regarding land titles after payment of USh10,000 per search.
The background for Uganda’s NLIS is 25 years of consistency and planning.
Christopher reveals that the 1998 Land Act was intended to enable the decentralisation of land administration and management to necessitate a bureaucratic structure that was proving difficult to implement.
The ten-year Land Sector Strategic Plan (LSSP) addressed many of the challenges identified then.
The strategies were to:
- review Uganda’s policy and legal framework,
- strengthen protection and the rights of vulnerable groups,
- support decentralisation of land administration,
- modernise the land registry to improve land service delivery,
- provide public information on land rights,
- and develop a National Land Policy.
The first phase of the NLIS was implemented from 2010 to 2013 by the Ministry of Lands, Housing, and Urban Development (MLHUD) with support from the French company IGN FI and funds provided by the World Bank per the LSSP.
The Design, Supply, Installation, and Implementation of the Land Information System and Securing of Land Records (De SILISoR) project used a high-resolution orthophoto to develop the Land Information System.
It also involved the digital conversion of over 550,000 freehold, leasehold, and mailo titles, the integration of the digitised titles into the system, the establishment of six Ministry Zonal Offices (MZOs), and the training of staff to operate and maintain the system.
In 2013, the Government initiated the Land Sector Strategic Plan II (LSSP II) to;
- Restore the integrity of Uganda’s Land Registration System
- Modernise the ability of the land sector to deliver services
- Establish a modern land information and records system
- Decentralise land services closer to the people, among others.
After successful outcomes, the NLIS was taken in the national roll-out of the system with the DeSINLISI project under the LSSP II.
The phase implemented between February 2015 and February 2020 involved the integration of land registration and administration, surveying and mapping, physical planning, property valuation, and finalising the land records transfer process into digital format.
Most of the paper titles were computerised. Only titles with irregularities were left out.
The system decentralised land governance through the establishment of 22 self-contained zonal offices in Uganda.
The NLIS strengthened the land tenure system, reduced corruption, improved service delivery, and consolidated revenue.
Double plotting has been stopped and the illegal tampering with titles is now difficult to do.
Whereas paper records can be lost or forged, all information on the NLIS is properly recorded.
Although this cannot prevent fraud, the responsible officers can be held accountable and illegal actions corrected. Access to land registration through the online portal also shows improvement in transparency.
Financially, the NLIS was completed as planned and had already generated more than sufficient revenue to pay for itself before it was launched.
According to the MLHUD, the NLIS generated USD240 million, a 333% return on the USD72 million investment received as a World Bank loan.
The system has also met some challenges, such as training capacity and building of human resources about the relevant legislation, e.g. the Electronic Transactions Act and the Electronic Signature Act.
The system is also only applicable to registered land, which is only less than 20% of all the land in Uganda.
However, MLHUD is about to launch the 2nd phase of a programme for the systematic demarcation of plots and issuance of freehold titles and Certificates of Customary Ownership (CCOs) in different parts of Uganda. This shall enable the NLIS to work efficiently.
As of now, Uganda is considered a leader in land governance across Africa.
In 2016, the Government of Tanzania launched the pilot phase of the Integrated Land Management Information System (ILMIS), which closely resembles Uganda’s NLIS in form and function.
NLIS has contributed to the development of Uganda’s economy and the realisation of the Government’s Vision 2040.
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