UGANDA, Kampala | Real Muloodi News | Members of Parliament on the Physical Infrastructure Committee are opped to the Ministry of Lands, Housing, and Urban Development’s USh21.6 billion request to transfer the Kasoli Housing Project to Tororo Municipality.
Kasoli Housing Project is a government low-income dwellings initiative launched between 2011 and 2016 by the Housing Ministry to give low-cost housing to low-income slum dwellers.
While stage one of the US$2.4 million project was accomplished, the project comprises 92 dwelling units and is set to be demolished to make space for constructing the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR). Tenants protested, petitioning parliament over the eviction threat and SGR’s late compensation.
Irene Gwokyalya, Acting Commissioner, Housing Development and Estates Management at the Ministry of Lands, testified before the Committee on Tuesday, 01 February 2022, that the ministry needs USh21.6 billion to transfer the project to Tororo. The ministry also requires USh8.63 billion compensation for project-affected individuals, with Dfcu Bank demanding USh3.18 billion as an overdue mortgage.
While the MPs agreed with the Lands Ministry that the tenants should be compensated as soon as possible, they resisted the ministry’s request to transfer the USh21.6 billion project, claiming that it would spawn another ‘white elephant.’
“The issue of relocation might turn out to be another failed project. You cannot compensate people for a project and then you again spend another USh21 billion to relocate the same people after compensation. How does value for money come here?” said Hon Roland Ndyomugyenyi.
Both Henry Maurice Kibalya (NRM, Bugabula South) and Hon Ibanda Rwemuliya (Indep., Ntoroko County) agreed with Hon Ndyomugyenyi that transferring the same housing project to another place was unnecessary and wasteful.
Hon. Ronald Balimwezo, the Shadow Minister for Lands and Housing, urged that the Lands Ministry seek land elsewhere for the SGR and forego the housing project, which was a model low-cost housing project in the country.
“There is no single housing project that has broken events in this country. We have just birthed Kasoli housing project and before the ‘baby’ starts to walk, we already want to demolish and relocate it. You are requesting for USh21.6 billion to relocate the housing project; why not look for USh3 billion to procure land elsewhere to divert the railway line project?” Balimwezo proposed.
Hon Robert Kasolo, Vice-Chairperson of the Committee on Physical Committee, identified several inconsistencies in the compensation program and urged that authorities submit ministry records outlining the list of those who have been rewarded and those who are slated for payment.
Hon Mario Obiga Kania, Minister of State for Urban Development, stated that all critical papers about the Kasoli housing project would be delivered to the committee.
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