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NPA Boss Mocks Landlord and Tenant Bill

The NPA Executive Director Dr Joseph Muvawala said he hoped the president did not sign it into law in a complete show of disdain to the bill. He was speaking during the 7th economic forum held in Entebbe today. The meeting was organized by the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Uganda (ICPAU) to deliberate and suggest policy changes in the key sectors in the economy.
Dr Joseph Muvawala

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National Planning Authority (NPA) Executive Director Dr Joseph Muvawala has described the act supposed to regulate the relationship between landlords and tenants, as a bad law that is likely to constrain the housing market in Uganda. 

The Landlord and Tenant Bill, 2018 was passed by parliament at the end of last month to the cheers of traders in downtown Kampala who had pushed for its passing.  It has however elicited anger and controversy with key players in Ugandan economy saying it doesn't solve anything. 

More to the controversy were clauses on the payment of rent only in Uganda shillings and the clause that restricted landlords from evicting a defaulting tenant for six months. Another ambiguous clause in the bill provides for a one-year jail term for landlords who annoy tenants, without explaining what annoyance actually means.  

Muvawala said he hoped the president did not sign it into law in a complete show of disdain to the bill. He was speaking during the 7th economic forum held in Entebbe today. The meeting was organized by the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Uganda (ICPAU) to deliberate and suggest policy changes in the key sectors in the economy. 

He said many government interventions were not proceeding with purpose because they are not coordinated or each sponsoring agency is operating in silos.     

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Muvawala, in rebuke of the bill, told accountants that it was high time they sold their rentals quickly.   They would no longer make any business sense, he indicated, for one to stay with rentals, have defaulting tenant they can't remove for six months and be able to service their mortgage.   

He also had an issue to pick with other Bill's that have recently found their way into parliament, including the coffee bill, 2019, that provides for the registration of coffee farmers. He said as a planning officer for the country, he didn't know about it. He learnt of it in newspapers.      

"It should have come to my office before it went to parliament. What does it take for the PS [permanent secretary] of agriculture to call the ED planning and say we have this issue? How do we legislate around it?" he wondered.   

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Muvawala said some of these regulations didn't add value to the transformation of the country.  "We have a housing deficit but you are trying to constrain investors," he said.       

Media reports have shown that Kampala alone has a housing deficit of 550,000 units. This is likely to be exacerbated to nearly 8 million units in 20 years, of which 2.5 million will be in urban centres and one million in Kampala. 

Fredrick Kibedi, the ICPAU president, said the accountants were happy that some of the policy issues raised at the previous forums were adopted by the government. He gave an example of the capitalization of Uganda Development Bank as an idea that the accountants raised at the previous conferences and is being implemented. 

Meanwhile, Muvawala said accountants should fight against the idea of companies coming to Uganda and hiring foreign accountants.  He said it was a shame that with all the auditors trained in Uganda, some foreign accountants come here and are actually given permits to work.

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