Central Bank Commends Buganda Land Reforms

 

The Bank of Uganda (BoU) has said Buganda Land Board has done right in setting up a land registry system that helps land owners acquire certificates of registration as official documentation and proof of ownership of their bibanja (land).

“I would like to commend the Buganda Land Board for initiating the process of establishing a land registration system, which will not only provide tenure security to the bibanja owners and enable them to pledge their land rights as security for a loan, but will also ease searches of land titles,” said Governor Emmanuel Tumusime-Mutebile.

The Governor’s message to officials of Buganda kingdom was delivered by Dr. Charles Abuka, the Director Financial Stability BoU, at a prayer breakfast where the Buganda Land Board was reviewing their Lease Access Financing Initiative.

The Governor also commended Buganda Land Board for the initiative which it took to assess the land holders’ financing needs in the acquisition of land titles and taking the necessary steps to address these needs by linking up with Centenary Bank and other stakeholders.

 The combined efforts of the Buganda Land Board, the land holders and Centenary Bank led to the formation of the Lease Access Financing Initiative in 2010 which now is under review.

“The outcomes of this tripartite arrangement can have positive and far-reaching effects on the security of land tenure; access to, and use of, financial services; private sector investment; and socio-economic growth and development, if it is managed well. The onus is on each of the stakeholders involved to make the Lease Access Financing Initiative a success.

Despite the progress achieved, the initiative faces some challenges like forged collateral which has hindered land holders’ access to financial services and their acquisition of land titles. In the process financial institutions have incurred losses when loans secured against poor quality collateral have not been repaid on time.

The process of establishing a land registration system will not only provide tenure security to the bibanja owners and enable them to pledge their land rights as security for a loan, but will also ease searches of land titles, Mutebile noted.

“In order to make the certificate of registration and the land title credible and to provide reliable documents that financial institutions can accept as collateral for loans, all necessary steps must be taken to minimize disputes, litigation, forgeries and other land grievances.

He advocated that public education about land registration should be undertaken to facilitate and support understanding of the system by using qualified and skilled survey and registry staff.

Hardware Products Plaza To Boost Uganda’s Construction Sector

 

Kampala traders dealing in hardware products and services have now got a home after city tycoon Sudhir Ruparelia officially opened the Hardware City complex on Entebbe road, downtown the city near Nakasero Market.

Crane Management Services, which is part of the Ruparelia Group, on Monday, at a grand opening ceremony, handed over the multistoried building worth $25m to tenants.

The spacious  Hardware City building was officially opened by the chairman of Ruparelia Group Sudhir Ruparelia, Crane Management Services managing director Rajiv Ruparelia, traders and tenants.

The state of the art building seats on about 27000 square meters of prime land, has 281 shops and 66 residential apartments; the piece of land on which the building that took 18 months to construct cost $7m. Already tenants have taken up shops and residence.

“What we had in mind when starting to work on this project was to provide a one stop center to offer hardware products and services. This would help customers to buy everything in one place. We wanted to create a situation were a customer doesn’t move from one place to another looking for hardware goods or services,” Sudhir told tenants at the grand opening of the multistoried building.

Unlike other commercial buildings in the city centre, tenants at the Hardware City complex will pay their monthly rent in Uganda Shillings and they will face no monthly rent increment for the next two years.

“‘Since it is a new building, we are not going to increase monthly rent charges for the next two years,” Sudhir assured tenants.

Rajiv Ruaparelia the managing director of Crane Management Limited the company behind the development of this magnificent building described the building as modern, safe, secure and of high standards when compared to their neighboring commercial building.

Rajiv, the only son of Sudhir, said they have secured a 500kv transformer to supply the building with constant power and will provide tenants with pre-paid sub meters through which they will be able to buy electricity. He said it will be a private service akin to Umeme’s Yaka system where the customer pays for any amount of electricity at any time.

Rajiv said the building is space with parking space that can accommodate 800 vehicles. Tenants to park their vehicles will pay a monthly subscription of $50; Non-tenants will pay $100 per month. He added that building will be open between 6am to 10pm because people need enough time to do their business.

SOCO Gives Up Oil License In Protected DRC Park

British oil company SOCO International said it no longer held a stake in an exploration license located in a DRC national park, home to mountain gorillas.

SOCO said it was writing off the costs associated with operations in the so-called Block V inside the Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo."SOCO no longer holds the Block V license," the company said in a statement.

SOCO signed a production sharing agreement with the DRC government in 2006. It said earlier that it reached an agreement with conservation group World Wide Fund for Nature, which operates as the World Wildlife Fund in the United States, to halt work in the DRC's Virunga National Park, a protected area and home to mountain gorillas, a critically endangered species.

In October, the WWF said the number of mountain gorillas in the Virunga park has increased over the last few decades following the work of regional conservationists. The organization said the threat continues, however, to the species' habitat. A census is underway.

The company in its latest update said no drilling ever took place inside Block V and no oil extraction plan was in place in the controversial basin."Block V is not located within the mountainous Mikeno sector [of the park], home to the famous mountain gorillas," it stressed.

Virunga, an award-winning documentary, showcases how the work of poachers, along with oil interests and conflict, has threatened the habitat and the survival of the mountain gorillas. The film raises questions about SOCO's transparency in the region, questions the company has criticized.

SOCO in 2012 was forced to relocate some its staff from the DRC to neighboring Uganda to flee a rebellion launched by the March 23 Movement. It defended its operations in the DRC, saying much of its preliminary work was carried out using aerial surveillance.

The company's work in the DRC had involved seismic surveys of the oil-rich Lake Edward region to get a better understanding of the reserve potential.

 

SOURCE:  UPI.com

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