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‘Physical Planners’ bill lacking’- Parliament

Members of Parliament are disappointed with the lack of completeness in the Physical Planners’ Bill which was introduced to Parliament in 2021.

The bills seeks to professionalise physical planning by establishing a Physical Planners’ Board that will be charged with registration of physical planners and ensuring discipline among practitioners.

Legislators on the Committee of Physical Infrastructure said that witnesses who had appeared before the committee said the Lands minister had not engaged key stakeholders while drafting the bill.

The MPs made these observations while meeting the Minister for Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Judith Nabakooba.

The Deputy Chairperson of the Committee, Hon Robert Kasolo said whereas the bill talks about offences, it does not prescribe the penalties.

 “What have you put in place to protect the public from physical planners who have been disqualified from practice because of incompetence?” asked Kasolo.

The bill states that,‘ a person who falsely pretends to be a physical planner commits an offence and is liable, on conviction, to a fine not exceeding 48 currency points or imprisonment not exceeding two years or both’.

This MPs said the provision does not sufficiently address the gaps.

 “You find a sub-county chief posing as a physical planner and collecting huge sums of money; what have you put in place for victims of such an imposter?” asked Hon Pascal Mbabazi (NRM, Buwekula County).

Legislators were dismayed that although the bill aims at professionalising the sector, it does not cater for architects who have for long carried out physical planning.

“Architects have argued that since time immemorial, they have done physical planning and that even at the university, they study a whole module of physical planning. Where are they in this bill?” asked Hon Gideon Thembo Mujungu (NRM, Busongora South).

The committee was also concerned that the bill provides for the physical planners’ board and its functions but does not spell out its powers.

MPs also want the bill to harmonise the fights between Uganda Physical Planners Institute and Association of Physical planners, both private entities that have attempted to regulate the conduct of physical planners.

Nabakooba said that much as there are other professionals who support physical planning functions such as architects and engineers, this legislation is focuses only on physical planners.

 “As government, we are saying physical planning should be taken seriously. If we do not stream line physical planning, we shall be in disaster and end up having slums,” Nabakooba said.

Nabakooba said other professionals fighting to be included under the bill are already catered for in other legislations and that they should not distract the committee from the bill’s object.

“You will recall that currently there is no legal framework regulating physical planners unlike other professionals such as surveyors and engineers who have their own regulatory framework,” she said.

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