MLHCP/PR003/Thursday February 25 2021:- The Minister of Lands, Housing and Country Planning has unveiled the vision of his sector at his maiden engagement with the press.
In his statement at the government press briefing on Thursday February 25 2021, Dr. Turad Senesie announced that land allocation is no longer the sector’s top priority. “Government will now focus on country planning and the provision of affordable housing as a priority and land allocation secondary,” he pointed out. The Minister insisted that it’s high time we started providing affordable housing facilities and ensuring proper town and city planning.
He reported that there is currently no land bank in the country, but pointed out that work is already underway to secure land and create a land bank for investment and other national development purposes. “The reason for this is to ensure that we provide the space for large scale investment in agriculture, manufacturing and production that will create jobs and support economic growth,” Dr. Senesie highlighted.
He disclosed that the Ministry will pursue digitization of the entire land system in the country using robust and appropriate technology to solve conflicts emanating from land allocation, multiple land ownership and documentations.
According to him, the ministry’s Directorate of Housing and Country Planning would be separated into two in order to achieve effective and timely public service delivery. The Directorate of Country Planning, he said, will be charged with the tasks of developing or reviewing the Town and Country Planning Act to control and regulate town and urban planning; establish an Urban Design Unit, establish Country and District Planning Committees; and among others, initiate a holistic development plan, including structure and local plans.
“The Directorate of Housing will effectively and efficiently work with partners to construct affordable housing facilities across the country for low and middle income earners, envision the modernization of our towns and cities to replace derelict and shanty communities,” he pointed out, adding that he will prioritize consultation and negotiation in dispensing duties.
“In order to ensure that we do not have a situation where we are forced to demolish structures erected, the Ministry will be empowering the planning directorate with the appropriate policy that would require land owners to have clearance from the planning directorate before commencing construction on a piece of land,” he stated.
Minister Senesie reiterated that the government has placed a moratorium on allocation and sale of state land until further notice as part of strides to restore peace and sanity in land issues. “A Complaints Committee is now constituted and membership to the Committee will be announced next week. The Committee will immediately go into action to receive and investigate complaints over land ownership from April 2018 to January 2021,” he disclosed.
The Minister called on all and sundry to work toward ensuring our towns and cities compete with other towns and cities around the globe. “This requires discipline, decency and honesty,” he emphasized.