Updated at 2016 EAT on Thursday 23rd February 2023.
Mbarara district senior physical planner Julius Lucky has been approving building construction plans in the Bwizibwera-Rutooma town council without conducting field visits, the district public accounts committee has learned.
Lucky appeared before the committee chaired by Herbert Kamugisha, which is following up on audit queries in the reports for the third and fourth quarters of the 2021/22 financial year on Wednesday.
During the meeting, Kamugisha noted that in the national physical planning standards and guidelines 2011, the standard plot for construction in an urban setup should be 50ft by 100 ft. He, however, noted that in Bwizibwera-Rutooma town council construction is approved on plots less than the set measurements.
Kamugisha said that the town council is in the process of securing a new physical development plan from the ministry of Lands Housing and Urban development but the current situation is likely to create a mess. He questioned who will compensate those involved in construction with approved construction plans when the final physical development plan is delivered.
“When you allow people to build now, in a few years, a plan is going to come [and] who is going to compensate these people? Who is going to compensate these people? People are building and you can imagine yesterday, I was there and someone was trying bring a bed to put it there and he could not pass in a corridor…And the building I’m talking about he’s also aware of. A building without a toilet in town,” said Kamugisha.
In his defense, Lucky said his office is challenged due to the lack of facilitation and means of transport to travel to the fields since his office is only allocated Shs 1.5 million for its operations annually. He added that his office relies on the information from the health inspectors in the town councils to approve construction plans, who sometimes give him false information.
As a result, the committee asked the chief administrative officer (CAO), Edward Kasagara to task the physical planner to write a report on the ongoing constructions explaining how the plans were approved. Kasagara pleaded with the committee to allow him to summon the health inspectors of Bwizibwera- Rutooma town council, Santos Oma, and Rubindi-Ruhumba town council, Mbirabiramu Venasio to explain the anomalies in their jurisdictions.
Bwizibwera-Rutooma town council has never had an official physical plan since 2019 when it was created. It is among the three town councils that are to get physical development plans under the Uganda Support to Municipal Infrastructure Development-Additional Financing program (USIMD-AF). The others are Bwizbwera-Rutooma in Mbarara, Onyama in Gulu, and Lwasso town councils in Mbale district.