Enforceable physical planning system is a must
What you need to know:
The major land uses of urbanisation, agriculture, industrialisation, wildlife and natural forests, mineral and oil exploration are planned and developed or regulated separately or on an ad hoc basis
Uganda should urgently ensure that all land in this country is planned, used and developed properly and efficiently managed for the benefit of both the present and future generations.
The major land uses of urbanisation, agriculture, industrialisation, wildlife and natural forests, mineral and oil exploration are planned and developed or regulated separately or on an ad hoc basis. This has inevitably resulted in inadequacies in land use planning and development, coupled with the non-compliance with the enforcement of the country’s relevant laws and regulations.
Physical planning must be an integral part of the Comprehensive National Planning Process of initiating and guiding all development so that optimum use is made of our nation’s human, natural and financial resources. The causes of urban immigration in Uganda are quite complex. In part it is due to the normal economic expansion which creates new urban jobs and tends to raise urban wages. But even if there are no jobs created, people will still flock to the urban centres due to rural poverty and lack of opportunities and services.
As a result of having no national urbanisation policy, the hierarchy of service centres (urban centres), which normally develop in mature economies to provide for the administrative, commercial, industrial and communal needs of the various communities and which forms a network of economic catalyst throughout the agricultural regions, has developed defectively in Uganda. Many administrative centres are sometimes found to be inconveniently separated from trading centres and mission stations providing the health and education facilities are often as distant in a different direction. Apart from the self-evident inconvenience to the local people having to travel to different places to carry out business activities, the diseconomy of this random scattering of these physical developments becomes evident when both the central and local governments want to provide the necessary physical infrastructure, communal services and facilities to these fractured communities.
The major part of the physical planning system would be concerned, as earlier stated above, with organising the spatial distribution and designing the layouts of the human settlements (the urban centres and the villages) and the development of physical infrastructure such as roads and railway lines, communal services and facilities, housing, commercial and industrial sites for provision of job opportunities, all of which are necessary in the modern economy.
Secondly, physical planning system shound also be concerned with the task of ensuring that the basic needs of both the present and future population of our country will remain in abundance. These basic needs include food, clean air, clean drinking water, energy etc. These basic needs or demands will inevitably put an enormous strain on the land that has also to provide the space for housing and building construction and physical infrastructure development.
If no attention is paid to the state of our land, then our human settlements (urban centres and villages), will become congested, overcrowded, stone deserts, polluted by industrial, domestic and solid waste, be tormented by floods, with unbearable temperatures, dust storms, shortages of food, inadequate domestic water and shortage of water for animals and eroded physical infrastructure
Then physical planning system for rural development should undertake regional studies to establish the rate of population growth and the probable rate of urbanisation and their relationship to the available agricultural land.
Agricultural land use is the most important land sector activity with its major economic resource of this country. Yet our government has not yet adopted a vigorous programme of rural development intended to provide employment for the increasing rural population and to bring the areas of subsistence farming within the cash economy.
Land productivity, potential, capability and sustainability for agriculture is not well articulated. Agricultural zones, although self-evident, are not demarcated for production. This makes it difficult to allocate land for agriculture to its most optimal and suitable use. Therefore, agricultural production in this country has no relationship to land productivity. Good agricultural land is degraded daily by uncontrolled human activities including sprawling urbanisation, industrialisation and mineral extraction. Agricultural land use planning should be part of the physical planning system in this country.
Again, uncontrolled human activities have not spared the natural forests and the wetlands which have been invaded by agricultural activities, housing, building and road construction and industrial location. This has resulted into serious environmental degradation, climatic change and flooding.
Given the above narrative, Uganda should, as a matter of urgency, ensure that all land in this country is planned, used or developed properly and efficiently managed for the benefit of both the present and the future generations.
Paul Frederick Magimbi, Retired public servant