GOV’T moves to address Escalating Housing Shortage

by Christopher Kiiza
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The Government through the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development in partnership with Habitat for Humanity and other key sector partners in Uganda will this Thursday hold the 2nd Uganda National Housing symposium and World Habitat Day 2023 celebrations.

This is in line with the UN General Assembly resolution of 17th December 1985 which establishes the World Habitat Day with the aim of providing countries, communities and all stakeholders in the housing sector an opportunity to reflect on the state of human settlements and the basic human right to adequate shelter.

Uganda’s second National Housing symposium and World Habitat Day 2023 celebrations come at a time when the country is grappling with a challenge of housing deficit, indecent and unaffordable housing.

Currently, Uganda has a housing deficit of 2.4 million housing units which casts a shadow on the aspirations of countless Ugandans who yearn for a place to call their own.

The first National Housing Symposium was held in October 2022 and the stakeholders endorsed that a national level forum be jointly convened annually to bring all key actors together to address the escalating housing deficit.

The Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Judith Nabakooba says that due to skyrocketing housing deficit, indecent and unaffordable housing in the country, this year’s National Housing Symposium aims to provide a sector-wide platform for showcasing innovations that support access to descent, affordable and inclusive housing while also addressing affordability, habitability, tenure security through a collaborative arrangement with all the stakeholders.

“The symposium will provide a venue for showcasing and discussing innovative solutions to accessible, inclusive, affordable and descent housing; a platform for addressing cross-cutting problems such as gender and youth engagement in the housing sector; an environment for sharing best practices in delivering affordable housing to the majority of society; and a platform for establishing partnerships between the Government and the private sector as well as developing appropriate designs and technologies to address the housing shortage,” said Nabakooba.

She added: “The Government would like to use this occasion to argue all stakeholders to address the challenges facing affordable housing across all communities in the Country. All players in the Housing and Urban Development sector and the general public are argued to reflect on the housing delivery systems and plan better for the coming housing year.”

GOV’T Initiatives To Tackle Housing Deficit

The Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban De has initiated a number of developments in the Lands, housing and urban development sectors, which include among others; implementation of the National Housing Policy, which provides a framework for housing development in the country to address housing shortage. 

Implementation of the Condominium Act, 2001, which allows people to own and acquire security of tenure for their individual units in high- rise buildings/apartments thus promoting optimal use of land, increasing security of tenure and accesses to decent and affordable housing.

The Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development with support from UN-Habitat is reviewing the National Slum Upgrading Strategy and Action plan of 2008 to align it with the sustainable urbanization and housing program.

Establishment of the National Urban Fora, which discusses urbanization and housing issues across the country.

Implementation of the Landlord and Tenants Act, 2022. The law harmonizes the housing relationships between Tenants and landlords.

Implementation of the Physical Planning Act, 2010 as amended, that declared the whole country a planning area, thus promoting organized and orderly human settlements.

Implementation of the National Land Policy, 2013, which provides a framework for the management and administration of Uganda’s land and land-based resources.

Implementation of the National Urban Policy, 2017, which provides a framework for the management of the urbanization process in the country.

Implementation of the Uganda Support to Municipal Infrastructure Development Program-Additional Financing (USMID-AF) in ten (10) Cities, twelve (12) Municipalities and eleven (11) refugee hosting Districts to strengthen institutional capacities of the Local Governments.

Can Uganda’s Housing Shortage Be Easily Solved?

A report titled, “The 2022 Housing Finance Yearbook: Uganda Profile,” released by the Centre for Affordable Housing Finance Africa in December last year, provides insights into the housing market in Uganda, including information on affordability, housing finance policies, housing deficit, housing demand and supply, initiatives, and property markets.

With respect to housing supply, the report reveals that Uganda’s high population growth rate coupled with a high urbanisation rate translates into a widening gap between the demand and supply of decent housing units.

The housing crisis in Uganda is a complex issue with no easy solutions. However, by taking a comprehensive approach that addresses the supply, demand, and financing dimensions of the problem, the government of Uganda can make significant progress in addressing this challenge.

It is also important to engage with all stakeholders, including private developers, financial institutions, and civil society organizations, to develop and implement effective solutions. The government should create a conducive environment for investment in the housing sector.

The government of Uganda should put focus on increasing the supply of affordable housing units by providing incentives to private developers to construct affordable housing units, and by investing in public housing projects.

The government can also improve access to housing finance by working with financial institutions to develop innovative mortgage products that are tailored to the needs of low-income borrowers.


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