The Ministry of Land Housing and Urban development has put a moratorium on the issuance of land titles in the Albertine Graben oil exploration area until a physical planning process is completed to regulate land acquisition and use.
Appearing before the parliamentary Adhoc committee on the regularization of the oil sector on Thursday, lands minister Daudi Migereko said the ministry had registered many cases of land grabbing in the area which had resulted into illegal acquisition of land.
"We have halted land registration in the exploration areas. We need to ensure that people live in a planned environment with no complaints," Migereko said.
He however told the committee chaired by Bungokho South MP Michael Werikhe that the ban was a temporarily one which would be lifted as soon as the ministry finalizes its plan to develop the exploration area.
Migereko added that ban on issuance of land titles was done administratively noting that it was not backed up by any law.
"The ministry has constituted the Albertine Graben Physical planning Technical team composed of various competent personnel from different ministries departments and agencies," he said.
He added that; "the ministry submitted a project proposal for the planning of the Graben to the ministry of finance and economic development and there are indications of releasing money next financial year 2012/2013".
Migereko also told MPs that they had trained land administration institutions on relevant policies and laws adding that potential urban growth centers along the Graben for closer monitoring had been identified.
He said there were fast growing unplanned growth centers within the Graben such as in Hoima, Kigorobya, and Bulisa among other town centers that needed to be planned.
Migereko said they were facing a lot of pressure from the people of Bunyoro regarding land grabbing which he says needs to be given urgent attention.
Meanwhile the committee has asked the minister to provide Parliament with a list of people that have acquired land titles from the Albertine graben for the last ten years.
"You should handle the issue of land grabbing in Bunyoro very careful, land grabbing in this region has did not start with oil discovery," said Cecilia Ogwal (Dokolo district ).
Tagged: Business, East Africa, Land and Rural Issues, Petroleum, Uganda