You can’t compensate people for a project and then again spend another shsh 21bn to relocate the same people after compensation.
Members of Parliament in the Physical Infrastructure Committee oppose a Shs21.6 billion request from the Ministry of Land, Housing and Urban Development to relocate the Kasoli housing project in Tororo Municipality.
The Kasoli Housing Project is a government low-income housing project that was implemented by the ministry between 2011 and 2016 to provide low-income slum dwellers with low-cost housing.
While the first phase of the US$2.4 million project has been completed, the project housing 92 housing units will be demolished to pave the way for the construction of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR). This provoked protests from tenants who applied to Parliament for the threat of eviction and delayed compensation by SGR.
While appearing before the Committee on Tuesday 01 February 2022, Irene Gwokyalya, Acting Commissioner for Housing Development and Asset Management at the Ministry of Land, said that the ministry needs Shs21.6 billion to relocate the project. The Ministry also needs Shs8.63 billion to compensate the people affected by the project with Dfcu Bank taking Shs3.18 billion as outstanding mortgage.
While MPs pledged to support the Land Ministry to promptly compensate tenants, they opposed the ministry’s request for 21.6 billion shsh to relocate the project saying it would create another ‘white elephant’.
“The relocation issue could become another failed project. You can’t compensate people for a project and then again spend another shsh 21bn to relocate the same people after compensation. How does the value for money get here? said Hon Roland Ndyomugyenyi (Indep., Rukiga County).
Both Henry Maurice Kibalya (NRM, Bugabula South) and Hon Ibanda Rwemuliya (Indep., Ntoroko County) agreed with Hon Ndyomugyenyi that it was unnecessary and wasteful to relocate the same housing project.
The Shadow Minister of Lands and Housing, Hon. Ronald Balimwezo, proposed that the Ministry of Lands seek land elsewhere for the SGR and save the housing project that is projected as a model of low-cost housing in the country.
“There is not a single housing project that has broken events in this country. We have just given birth to the Kasoli housing project and before the ‘baby’ starts to walk, we already want to demolish and relocate it. It is requesting Shs21.6billion to relocate housing project; Why not seek Shs3billion to acquire land elsewhere to divert the rail line project?” Balimwezo proposed.
The Vice Chairman of the Committee of the Physical Committee, the Honorable Robert Kasolo, cited many discrepancies in the compensation scheme and demanded that ministry officials produce documents detailing the list of people who have been compensated and those who are scheduled for payment.
The Minister of State for Urban Development, Hon. Mario Obiga Kania, promised to submit all vital documents regarding the Kasoli housing project to the committee before the end of the week.