Tanzania: Councils Banned From Surveying Land

Dar es Salaam — Lands minister William Lukuvi has banned local authorities from surveying land and planning its use.

He said the job should be done by private firms, adding that this was aimed at addressing excessive red tape that people seeking land services from district and municipal councils were being subjected to.

The minister was speaking yesterday at the ministry’s headquarters in Dar es Salaam during the launch of the new Town Planners Registration Board (TPRB).

Mr Lukuvi said he would issue an official directive to district councils to contract private companies to undertake land surveying and planning in their respective areas.

"Many district councils have been violating Section 6 of the Land Use Planning Act Number 7 of 2007, which calls for transparency in the process," he said, adding that he had decided to bar local authorities from surveying land and planning its use because "most of their officials are dishonest".

"For example, I directed a municipal council in Dar es Salaam to survey and sell to the public a total of 20,000 plots, but more than 400 plots weren’t sold on the grounds they were located in prohibited areas. However, when we visited the site we discovered that the plots weren’t in prohibited areas at all, and that it was just a ploy to enable crooked officials to steal the land," Mr Lukuvi said.

He added that it was also too expensive for district councils to survey land and plan its use, and he directed the Town Planners Registration Board and Architects and Quantity Surveyors Registration Board to register more local companies to carry out the work.

Mr Lukuvi said the Lands ministry required Sh2.3 trillion to implement its ten-year plan, which aims at surveying land and providing title deeds to all land owners across the country.

"Since the government has other commitments, it will use the private sector to carry out the work. If we are to use our own funds to do the job, we will have to set aside Sh270 billion every year in our budget for ten years…we can’t afford that because people need medicines, water and other social services."

Mr Lukuvi said private planning and surveying companies would recover their costs from land buyers.

He said he would hold talks with representatives of major banks next week and explore the possibility of issuing loans to private land surveyors.

The minister directed the TPRB to make sure that people who needed land were not overcharged by the companies, adding that district councils had a tendency to sell plots at grossly inflated prices.

"Prices should be affordable to ordinary Tanzanians. You should not hesitate strike off the register any company that will overcharge land buyers."

The minister also barred foreign companies from surveying land and planning its use in the country, saying they have been overcharging councils for urban planning services.

"For example, Dar es Salaam City Council has spent a lot of money to prepare its master plan, but the plan is bogus," he said without elaborating.

Outgoing TPRB chairman John Lubuva said there were 59 land use planning companies in the country.

New TPRB chairman Wilbard Kombe said the board would see to it that companies that would undertake the work would not profiteer by overcharging land buyers.

"We will not victimise or favour anyone when carrying out our duties…we will work in accordance with the law," he said.

Source: http://allafrica.com/stories/201604080217.html