ARUA: The Ministry of Lands Housing and Urban Development has bowed to pressure from politicians and locals to open its regional offices to begin issuing land titles and other related certificates. It’s a culmination of anger and frustration of the locals who have endured for more than 5 years ever since the construction of the building on which the zonal offices are located was completed.
Those who wished to secure their lands in form of acquiring titles have been unable to do this since September 2017 and have been referred back to zonal offices in Arua. All the while the Arua offices had not been opened yet.
Mr. Dominic Angaundia, a local businessman in Arua town said then “This Christmas season is going to be a bad one for me because banks can’t give loans using my land title, I have moved to Entebbe and Kampala but they referred me back to Arua yet the office in Arua is ever closed, I’m just stranded now.”
The offices are now officially opened to the public though not ceremonial as it is always done in the country.
Mr. Stephen Ndegeya, the senior staff surveyor, who is also the in-charge of the zonal office, said they are now fully operational and handling all land-related matters. “We are now open and offering all services that used to take people here up to Kampala like registering land, getting a certificate of land title, leasehold certificate, caveats, we register and release mortgages and others,” said Ndegeya.
He further commented stating, the digitized land registration system would take a maximum of one week for someone to get his or her land title.
Late last year, the Minister of Lands, Ms. Betty Amongin apologized to the people of West Nile for the delay for operationalization of the zonal offices as it had affected business and inconveniences in getting loans.
The bank manager of Equity Bank Arua, Mr. Simon Avutia welcomed the opening saying it was the biggest news of the year.
“This is the biggest news of the year, I remember when the lands offices were closed, all financial institutions including Equity were suffering, now we can begin land titles as security and loans will not take longer than expected,” he said.
Initially, the banks had been using land sales agreements to issue out loans but below 30 million shillings and hindering those who wanted more.
Ms. Vivian Agonduru, a fishmonger at Arua main market expressed relief that she would not be traveling to Kampala to process her land titles.
“I like what the government is doing, this is good because the person whom I wanted to use was asking for a lot of money in transport and accommodation to Entebbe but here I will have to process it myself,” she said.