Mixed views as Tanzania’s MPs debate Lands budget

DAR ES SALAAM: SOME lawmakers praised the role of land clinics in resolving land disputes nationwide, while others called for an increased budget allocation to the National Land Use Planning Commission to prevent conflicts over land.

The MPs shared their opinions during the debate on the 171.37bn/- budget of the Ministry of Lands, Housing, and Human Settlements Development.

Minister Jerry Silaa presented the budget last Friday, with 70.6bn/- for development, 86.79bn/- for recurrent expenses and 12.17bn/- for the commission.

During the discussion, Ms Munira Hatib (Special Seats-CCM) stated that the planning commission had been effectively surveying village lands but lacked sufficient funding.

She recommended that the government continue to allocate more funds to the commission.

Another MP, Ms Hawa Mwaifunga (Special Seats CHADEMA), also urged the government to provide financial support to the planning commission.

She highlighted the commission’s success in planning land for relocated Maasai people in Msomera, emphasising the need for a larger budget to prevent conflicts.

Kyerwa lawmaker Innocent Bilakwate praised the positive results of the land clinics, introduced by the minister.

He suggested that the clinics should also be established in villages, not just in towns.

He argued that land planning, surveying, and granting ownership were important because they also economically empowered citizens.

“Land councils have been formed to resolve land conflicts, but in many places, these councils do not perform well. They have become loopholes for corruption. These councils should also be facilitated in terms of funds, skills, and equipment,” he stated.

Mr Priscus Tarimo (Moshi Urban-CCM) expressed his trust in Minister Silaa, arguing that the minister’s vast experience will take the sector far.

He said it was a good decision by the ministry to introduce electronic issuance of title deeds, which will address the issue of double land allocation, a common cause of disputes.

Legislator Jafari Wambura (Rorya-CCM) also commended President Samia Suluhu Hassan for reintroducing the Land Use Planning Fund.

“I ask the ministry to educate the public about the expected new land policy so that the public can get involved in the review process,” he said.

ALSO READ: Sigh of relief in land disputes 

However, he criticised district land councils for taking a long time to resolve cases, noting that some cases take up to two years, which disproportionately affects low-income citizens.

Mr Mustafa Rajab (Dimani-CCM) argued that population growth poses a challenge to land availability because the demand for land for economic activities increases while the speed of land planning remains low.

He stated that the growth of cities does not align with land planning and suggested that having better policies and laws would significantly reduce land conflicts.

“I commend the government for initiating a review of the land policy. However, my concern is the low participation of citizens in this process. The government must involve citizens in this process because all land in Tanzania is considered public land,” he said.

Mr Cosato Chumi (Mafinga Urban-CCM) also praised the introduction of land clinics, which have been effective in resolving land conflicts and have become a threat to corrupt individuals in the land sector.

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