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Gov't Loses US$ 97M in Delayed Infrastructure Projects

Addressing journalists this morning, the Lands, Housing and Urban Development Minister, Betty Amongi, explained that the money was lost in paying fines to contractors for idle machinery due to stalled projects because of compensation disagreements.

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Government lost USD 97 million about Shillings 349billion in the past two financial years due to delayed implementation of infrastructure projects, URN has learnt.

 

Addressing journalists this morning, the Lands, Housing and Urban Development Minister, Betty Amongi, explained that the money was lost in paying fines to contractors for idle machinery due to stalled projects because of compensation disagreements.

  

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According to Amongi, the money spent on fines could have been used to finance other infrastructure projects. She explains that the proposed constitutional amendment bill 2017 will help government to mitigate such compensation scenarios that stall government projects and cause financial loss.

 

The bill seeks to amend article 26 of the 1995 constitution by inserting a clause that will enable government to compulsorily acquire land for public projects even if its owner reject government land valuation. She says after taking land, government can deposit money determined by the chief valuer in the bank pending determination of the disputes related to the matter. 

She presented a list of 21 government projects under National Water and Sewage Corporation, Uganda National Roads Authority, Standard Gauge Railway, Electrification and Oil, which have stalled due to compensation disputes.

Amongi says government can't wait for the omnibus constitutional amendment bill to address the critical need of land acquisition for infrastructure projects. 

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She also explained that the Supreme Court expunged section 7 of Land Acquisition Act 1995, which provided for the compulsory land acquisition.

 

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The Supreme Court ruling was in response to a case that arose when government commissioned the upgrade of Hoima- Kaiso-Tonya road leading to oil fields in the Albertine Graben.

 

Acting under the Land Acquisition Act, Uganda National Roads Authority took over the land before payment of compensation to owners. A section of the aggrieved land owners petitioned court challenged section 7 of land acquisition act, which the Supreme Court declared unconstitutional. 

The constitution amendment, Amongi says will once again empower government to forcefully acquire land as it used to do under section 7 of the Land Acquisition Act. 

 

She urged Ugandans not to fear that the compulsory land acquisition will render them landless, saying government will compensate them and pay additional money if court rules that acquired land had been undervalued. 

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