Tanzania: Bunge Wants More Funds for Land Commission

MEMBERS of Parliament have called upon the government to allocate sufficient funds to the National Land Use Planning Commission so that it can perform its functions of addressing land conflicts in the country.

They said the commission was formed to ensure sustainable land management systems, which address issues of land degradation and conflicts but lack of funds has crippled the entity to realise its objectives.

Contributing to the 2022/2023 budget estimates for the Ministry of Land, Housing and Human Settlement Development here yesterday Ludewa MP Joseph Kamonga (CCM) said that the commission needs money to plan for land use.

He said the amount which has been allocated to the commission is peanut for it to deliver the expected outcomes.

“If the commission will be empowered financially and plan for proper land use, there will be no land-related conflicts because people will have legal ownership of plots and no person will attempt grab someone’s piece of land,” he said.

The MP further said that the ministry’s budget should have been be increased for it to carry out activities aimed at improving the land sector in general.

“The ministry has good plans and strategies but it lacks funds for implementing them, I believe that if it is provided with enough funds and equipment it will be in a better position to survey and plan for proper land use which in turn will reduce land-related conflicts in the country,” the lawmaker said.

The MP said that the ministry should also be given employment permit to increase the number of land officers and surveyors.

According to the ministry’s 2022/2023 budget estimates, the actual demand for land officers is 1,202 but has only 605 officers. The ministry also has only 618 surveyors, while it needs 1,978 of them.

Special Seats MP Hawa Mwaifunga (Chadema) said that when the commission was formed she believed that it was going to be a solution to land-related conflicts in the country.

“It is impossible for the country to end land conflicts if this commission is not be provided with sufficient funds to carry out its activities,” she said.

The MP detailed that the ruling party’s election manifesto directed that at least 750 villages should be surveyed annually but the ministry, in its 2022/2023 budget, allocated funds for surveying 100 villages only.

“It will be difficult to attain its objective of surveying 3,000 villages in a period of five years if the government continues to allocate small budget for the purpose,” the MP said.

She further explained that in the ending financial year (2021/2022) the commission requested 10bn/- but it was given only 1bn/- and in the next financial year it requested 10bn/- but it has been allocated only 1.4bn/-.

“We call upon the budget committee, government and Minister for Finance to see the possibilities of adding more money to the commission because if it carries out its activities well there will be no need of having ward and district land tribunals,” she said.

Nkasi South MP Vicent Mbogo (CCM) said that there is a pressing need for three ministries- Regional Administration and Local Government, Natural Resources and Tourism and Land Housing and Human Settlement Development- to cooperate in addressing land disputes.

“The ministries should plan together on how they can address land conflicts instead of each ministry planning on its own,” he said.

He said his constituency had 11 wards, all of which, save one, were facing land disputes.

“We request the government to address these conflicts because the poverty in Rukwa region is also contributed by land disputes as people cannot conduct their activities in such situation,” he said.

Kawe MP Josaphat Gwajima (CCM) said that Kinondoni district is leading in land conflict which are partly contributed by government officials.

He said some leaders were instigating land conflicts instead of helping the government to resolve them.

Bishop Gwajima called upon the government to direct more efforts towards resolving the problem to enable people to live peacefully.

Winding up the debate for the ministry’s 2022/2023 budget estimates, Deputy Minister for Lands, Housing and Human Settlements Development Ridhiwan Kikwete said that the government has been taking various measures to address land conflicts in the country.

He said the committee comprising eight ministers is proceeding with it work of visiting various areas facing land conflicts with the aim of addressing them.

“We have also reviewed various laws … there are directives issued by President Samia Suluhu Hassan on how we can deal with these disputes … I can upon the public to remain calm as the government proceeds with its work,” he said.

Speaker of the National Assembly, however, directed the government to work on issues raised by the lawmakers including the challenges facing the National Land Use Planning Commission.

Tabling the ministry’s budget estimates on Thursday Minister for Lands, Housing and Human Settlements Development Angelina Mabula requested the House to approve 110.3bn/- for recurrent and development expenditure.

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