Kampala – In a move to reduce the housing deficit in central Uganda, Housing Finance Bank has renewed their partnership with Buganda Land Board (BLB); the Buganda Kingdom land division, to enable affordable acquisition of land with authentic titles with loan facilities from the bank to aid affordable housing construction.
Speaking at the signing of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) at the bank’s headquarters in Kampala on Friday, the Managing Director of HFB Michael Mugabi said that the renewed partnership will go a long way in fast-tracking the acquisition of land titles within the kingdom and providing affordable mortgage financing to enable the public to have decent housing as a human right necessity.
“As Housing Finance Bank, we have the mandate to enable homeownership and financial independence. Everyone needs a roof over their head, so as part of achieving our mandate we have a number of solutions that will enable Ugandans meet their housing needs and one of these is the incremental housing loan. We recognize that many Ugandans build incrementally countrywide, and we can give you loans that will enable you to build incrementally.”
Mugabi further added that working with like-minded entities like BLB, will go a long way in solving the housing deficit in the country.
Present at the signing ceremony too was the chief executive director of Buganda Land Board Simon Kabogoza who said that the renewal of the partnership was due to the need to work with a credible financial institution that with expertise in mortgage and asset acquisition and management.
“We need to continue on the aspect of closing the knowledge gap together with key stakeholders in this intervention. Because if we work with government agencies that have the mandate to ensure that whoever puts up a property, that person has gone through the physical planning procedure, and an approved plan because without it why do you pass behind the laws and go ahead and build. Where is our enforcement team on this?” Kabogoza stated.
However, Kabogoza raised the issue of challenges in as far as providing land titles in time are concerned, to individuals who come to their Bulange office since the printing of land titles is an onus of the central government. “We do not have an office in Masengere that produces land titles, that is a mandate of the government of Uganda. Even when we are saying that we are pushing so that you can have your title in a month that implies additional resources to push through for it to happen.”
On the criteria to be followed when a person wants to acquire a land title in the kingdom land, Kabogoza said that top of the list is the proof of ownership requirement as he explained: “There is no way you are going to acquire a land title without proof of ownership then after that you will present two copies of passport-sized photos and thereafter officials from the kingdom will verify the authenticity of the proof of ownership.” We follow through all those steps to prove that the person intending to regulate the ownership of the land is the rightful owner.”
The proof of ownership could either be a donation deed, or a sales agreement according to the BLB officials.
The sticky issue of the mailo land debate and the central government’s plan to introduce a bill in parliament that if passed would abolish the system couldn’t pop up on the agenda and Kabogoza sternly stated that the mailo land debacle is not the boiling point but the land system in the country that needs to redress and an overhaul.
“Let’s avoid myths and misconceptions. The problem in this country is not the tenure system but the system and knowledge gaps. Can we work on land issues in government to see that land issues in court are solved to the dot? Let us address the knowledge gaps first before going further into this.”
It was also revealed at the same function that since the first MoU that was signed between the two partners in 2013, over 2,000 clients have acquired land titles and been able to acquire loans to construct a decent home. According to the BLB CEO, they have so far helped over 40 clients this year alone and shs350m have been disbursed in loans to acquire land titles and mortgage asset financing.
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When asked whether the same agreement is also present between the bank and other regions of the country besides the Buganda Kingdom, Mugabi had this to say: “We have formed partnerships with different associations in the country where we have signed MoUs in Lira, Gulu, Fort Portal, Mbarara to see how with can bring land in Uganda under registration.”
The MoU according to Mugabi, the partnership with BLB and other associations in other regions is for the long hold as long as there still exist a housing deficit in the country. According to Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS), only 20% of the total land cover is registered and with the title of ownership, leaving a whopping 80% unregistered due to the different land tenure systems like communal land ownership among