Compensation Wrangles Threaten Multibillion World Bank Project in Hoima

1253 Views Hoima, Uganda

In short
About two months ago, Hoima Municipal council received Ugx 3.9billion from the World Bank for the first phase of the project. Shingle, Chinese firm was then contracted to undertake road tarmacking in Hoima town as per the project. Work is meant to begin in the first two weeks of August, 2014. However, unresolved compensation disputes are threatening the implementation of the project.

Property Owners in Hoima are seeking a court injunction blocking implementation of the Urban Support to Municipal Infrastructure Development (USMID) Program until they are compensated.

The program is a World Bank initiative designed to enhance the institutional performance of selected Local Governments to improve urban service delivery. The project will expand urban infrastructure, and enhance the capacity of the 14 municipal local governments to generate own source revenues, improve urban planning, and strengthen financial management, procurement, environmental and social systems.

About two months ago, Hoima Municipal council received Ugx 3.9billion from the World Bank for the first phase of the project. Shingle, Chinese firm was then contracted to undertake road tarmacking in Hoima town as per the project. Work is meant to begin in the first two weeks of August, 2014. 

However, unresolved compensation disputes are threatening the implementation of the project.

While property owners affected by the project want compensation, the municipal officials maintain that only those with approved building plans, land titles and whose properties are not in the road reserve will be compensated.

After failing to arrive at an agreement in a series of meetings, the property owners have now resolved to seek a court injunction on the project, until their compensation demands are addressed.

The property owners mainly those with buildings on Main Street in the heart of town said they could not lose property worth billions of shillings without due compensation. According to the project design roads are meant to be enlarged to 20fit.But the property owners implored council to maintain the road sizes if they don’t have money to compensate them.

A 10-man steering committee has now been instituted to follow up the issue.

Moses Asiimwe Byangire, who was elected committee chairman, told journalists shortly after the meeting that his team has already sought legal advice on the possibility of blocking the project.
 
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Uganda Radio Network could not secure a comment from the Mayor or the town clerk at the time.

 However a meeting held last Thursday between the two entities, the town clerk, Emmanuel Banya had directed the property owners to submit approved building plans and land titles to his office. According to him these would be a basis for compensation.
But during another meeting held by property owners on Monday August 4th, the property owners resolved not to submit the documents.

If secured, the court injunction will be a blow to the project which Hoima only looked up to improve the pathetic road network in town. Many roads in town are full of potholes, which are normally water logged when it rains.

The 14 municipalities to benefit from the project are: Arua, Gulu, and Lira in Northern Uganda, Soroti, Moroto, Mbale, Tororo, and Jinja in Eastern Uganda, Entebbe, Masaka in Central, and Mbarara, Kabale, Fort Portal Hoima in Western Uganda.