Thursday May 15 2014

KCCA on spot over delayed plans

A building under construction on Wampewo Avenue

A building under construction on Wampewo Avenue in Kampala. Many such developments have been delayed by plans held at KCCA. PHOTO BY RACHEAL AJWANG 

By Yasiin Mugerwa

Kampala minister Frank Tumwebaze has intervened in the quarrel between Kampala Capital City Authority and developers who have accused authorities at City Hall of delaying development projects in the city.

Developers in the city last week complained to the Committee of Parliament on Presidential Affairs that the involvement of National Environment Authority (Nema) in building plans, a body they said, lacks technical competence in the engineering field, had delayed prospective development projects in the City.

Responding to members’ request that he intervenes to sort out the quarrel over the bureaucracy at City Hall in approving building plans, Mr Tumwebaze yesterday told the Daily Monitor: “I’m planning a one-day meeting soon between KCCA, Nema and all other stakeholders to discuss all those issues and I am very sure a solution to the problem will be found,” Mr Tumwebaze said.

Explaining why KCCA involved Nema, Mr Tumwebaze, who admitted that because of the new policy, many developers usually come to his office with similar complaints said, “KCCA is trying to enforce adherence to planning requirements which some developers had for long been faulting.”

Representing the developers’ complaints, Igara East MP Michael Mawanda said, “Nema’s involvement under the law is restricted to environment impact assessment and they have no business in approving the building plans in the City.”

To expedite the process of proving building plans in the City, MPs last week asked KCCA to review the new requirements for Nema clearance.
When contacted, Nema boss Tom Okurut said he cannot comment on what transpired in Parliament because he was not in the committee where the matter was discussed.

However, Mr Daniel Okello, a member of the KCCA Physical Planning Committee, which is mandated to approve the building plans, said the committee sits every day to consider building plans and that under the new arrangement, developers will be able to have their plans approved within two weeks.

Mr Okello said sometimes there are delays in approving building plans because Nema has to wait for rain and see how the site reacts.