Land Title Initiative,over 12,000 Mbarara City residents to get free land titles

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Uganda’s SLAAC program, which provides freehold land titles is set give residents in specific wards of Mbarara City. This initiative aims to safeguard land rights, combat poverty, and stimulate economic growth. It has already issued 801 titles, with a goal to grant more by project completion.

The government is set to give out 12,644 freehold land titles to residents of Biharwe and Nyakayojo in Mbarara City. The action aims to safeguard them from evictions and enhance their standard of living.

The beneficiaries are from the south Mbarara City wards of Bugashe, Kichwamba, Rwakishakizi, and Katojo, and the North Mbarara City wards of Nyabuhama and Rwenjeru.

According to Francis Barabanawe, chair of the Mbarara City Land Board, they were able to approve the residents’ requests for these titles through the Systematic Land Adjudication and Certification (SLAAC) program by working with the land’s ministry.

“To date, the beneficiaries have received a total of 801 freehold titles. We have high hopes for this project because it would not only safeguard the recipients’ lands but also help them acquire finance from banks and therefore improve their wellbeing.” he told Mbarara city mayor Robert Kakyebezi in his annual performance report for last year.

According to Barabanawe, this should attract investment, combat poverty, and support regional economic growth for the entire City. He claimed that his board had approved the 12,644 applicants under the direction of the land ministry and the Mbarara city physical planning committee. He assured Kakyebezi, who has already transmitted the report to the land ministry, that “relevant procedures, laws, and regulations were followed.”

According to Barabanawe, the recipients of the SLAAC project—an effort of the Government of Uganda through the Lands Ministry with assistance from the World Bank—will obtain these titles by the project’s conclusion.

In order to improve the security of land tenure, the initiative aims to demarcate and grant certificates of freehold titles to all beneficiaries in the chosen parishes/wards.

The SLAAC process implies a methodical and orderly sequence in which all parcels within a selected area are brought onto the register for the first time. 

The country has been receiving these freehold titles from the land minister, Judith Nabakooba, who claims that the government made a conscious effort to roll out a nationwide program of systematic land titling with assistance from the World Bank under the Competitiveness Enterprise Development Project.

She claimed that one of the obligations made by the government in the National Resistance Movement party’s agenda for the 2021 elections is to help landowners obtain land titles in order to reduce land disputes and evictions and to safeguard civilians from the effects of a lack of land registration.

“Utilize the land and use it safely. Use your titles to do productive activities and not to get bank loans, or use it in bars as security,” she told over 2,000 beneficiaries in Oyam district on December 17, 2022.

The villagers were urged by the minister to keep their titles hidden from anyone who might try to con them into conducting transactions using them as security. They will eventually lose the land to con artists and opportunists because of this, she claimed.

“I urge the newly registered landowners to use their titles to create more wealth now that they are free from legal problems. Don’t divide or split your land because over time it can become less productive. Instead of selling it, utilize the certificates to obtain finance and alter your families and the country, she said.

She also admonished them to closely keep their titles and make sure they are hidden away.  “This is the beginning of a new generation of landlords powered by the government of Uganda,” Nabakooba said. 

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