• Mon. Dec 4th, 2023

UGANDA, Masaka Real Muloodi News | Four people have survived death after a building collapsed in Masaka City this week. While no one lost their lives, the building collapse blocked major roads in the city.

This latest building collapse is the second that has struck Masaka this year. In January, a storeyed building under construction near Nakayiba wetland also collapsed, killing one person and critically injuring another.

Unfortunately, the residents of Masaka City live under the very real threat that further building collapses could occur at any moment.

Prior to Masaka being elevated to a city in 2020, the Masaka municipal council in 2014 condemned numerous dilapidated and dangerous structures due to their poor state, and issued an ultimatum to landlords to demolish them.

However, few landlords complied with the order, and because the municipality lacked adequate funding to tackle the issue, the condemned building structures remain.

The issue has now become the problem of the recently formed Masaka City leadership, who has inherited the responsibility of dealing with the poorly maintained and dangerous buildings.

To address the issue, the Masaka City Authority announced a bid to improve structures by setting up a Building Committee earlier this month. The Committee has the duty of supervising all building developments in the city, ensuring better oversight of infrastructural building plans, and seeing that the poorly constructed buildings in the city are demolished.

Alice Nanungi, the Masaka City council works committee chairperson, oversees the 9-member committee, inaugurated on March 5th, 2022. Committee members include; Masaka City town clerk, Geoffrey Bemanyisa, the physical planner, Martin Kigozi, and the environment officer Christine Nabadda, among other members.

The National Building Review Board (NBRB) is providing the committee guidance regarding the Building Control Act, 2013, and has availed stamps, flow charts, and laws, among other tools of office, to help the committee in executing its duties.

The minister for works and transport, Gen Edward Katumba Wamala, says Masaka is currently witnessing an infrastructural overhaul, and this massive development must be guided with proper physical planning and strict adherence to building laws and regulations.

“Failure to follow these legislations will turn Masaka into a slum and a centre of building-related accidents, which we don’t want here,” he says.

Now, Masaka City leadership faces the challenge of sourcing the necessary revenue to see that the dangerous buildings are finally removed, and to carry out much needed urban planning and management of the city.

The Ugandan Government’s current Local Government Management and Service Delivery Programme does not provide city administrations with adequate funds to meet their strategic infrastructure investment needs. Therefore, Masaka City is striving to raise its own revenues.

For example, the newly formed Masaka Building Committee will work with NBRB to determine the fees to be charged for the approval of plans, and the issuance of building permits and occupation permits, necessary to fund the city’s infrastructure requirements.

Further funds are being raised with the help of the USAID-sponsored Domestic Revenue Mobilisation for Development (DRM4D) Project. Through this project, Masaka City Leadership is undertaking property valuations in the city, targeting commercial properties to be taxed over the next five years.

The property valuation exercise started on March 9th, and is estimated to continue for the next 44 days until April 30th. The Masaka City Authority will then display the draft valuation list throughout May, giving commercial property owners the opportunity to review the valuation assessments made against their buildings. If there are any objections, owners will have 30 days to appeal the valuation assessment.

The Masaka City Authority expects to begin generating revenues from the valuation and subsequent property taxation exercise from June 1st this year.

The additional revenues generated by property rates (property tax) will boost the ability of the newly formed Masaka City Building Committee to properly oversee city planning and building developments, and finally tackle the issue of demolishing Masakas’ dangerous condemned buildings.

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