New land policy to address outstanding issues in sector

Musabyimana (left) speaks at the event as Espérance Mukamana, Director General of RLMA, looks on. Nadege Imbabazi.

Government has said that a draft policy on land is already in place and consultations are underway to come up with a binding document to replace the existing policy which has been in force since 2004.

The proposed policy is expected to address different land related issues, including high pressure on agriculture land by human settlement, limited compliance to master plans, lack of urban-rural delineation or demarcation and increasing use of marginal land.

While speaking at a meeting to discuss the draft policy in Kigali on Wednesday, Jean Claude Musabyimana, the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Land and Forestry, said the revised land policy will strengthen land-use management, administration as well as use, surveying and mapping.

“After 15 years of the current policy, we thought it is time to look back, assess it and reinforce it where necessary. There were some key points in the 2004 land policy, which we thought needed to be strengthened to align it with the National Strategy for Transformation (NST),” he said.

According to Musabyimana, NST is the new national framework that will guide all sectors in the country until 2024.

The meeting brought together Government institutions, civil society and district land administrators to share ideas on the revised draft policy in order to have a well-tailored document that addresses all issues related to land.

Musabyimana said they wanted inputs from all the stakeholders before it is sent to parliament.

He added that the revised policy will be key in ensuring master plans for all the sectors are integrated for proper follow-up.

“Through the revised land policy, we are looking for a strategy by which all these master plans can be brought together, where each can be successfully implemented without any interruption,” he said.

While many problems had previously been addressed through land registration, the revised land policy will be key to addressing outstanding issues of land, officials believe.

So far, 70 per cent of the land has successfully been registered.

The revised policy is also expected to address the issue of land fees and taxes that many people find difficult to afford.

“During the consultation with citizens, many people complained that land-related fees and taxes were too high, and most of them are not able to pay,” Musabyimana said.

“One of the key aspects to be addressed by the proposed policy is to see whether we can collaborate with Rwanda Revenue Authority to make sure that those taxes are revised,” said Florien Nteziryayo, the acting director of land use in the ministry.

It is expected that the revised land policy will be in force by the beginning of next year.