Parliament summons environment minister

Minister for Environment Jeanne d’Arc Mujawamariya speaks during a news conference in January. Mujawamariya is expected to appear in the Lower Chamber of Parliament this week and respond to questions related to water and land use. / Photo: Sam Ngendahimana.

The Minister for Environment Jeanne d’Arc Mujawamariya, is expected to appear in the Lower Chamber of Parliament this week, where she will respond to questions related to water and land use.

Mujawamariya was summoned following issues raised during countrywide field trips carried out by members of parliament between December and January this year.

 

She is expected to explain why a Rwf30,000 fee is imposed on any land transaction, despite its size or value and plans to restructure that fee.

 

This is the second time Mujawamariya will be explaining this fee. Earlier this year, the Minister appeared before the Standing Committee on Agriculture, Livestock and Environment where she explained that the fee consists of Rwf20,000 for the actual land transfer, Rwf5,000 for the land title, and Rwf5,000 paid to the notary.

 

At the time, she said that the process to reduce the fee had started with the introduction of offering paperless (online) land titles.

“A person will not have to pay the Rwf5,000 charged for the soft copy and title unless they want us to print it for them. In fact, it is inconceivable that a person who has sold 25 square meters of land pays the same fee as the person who sold 25 hectares of land. That way, we would not be delivering justice to the people,” she observed.

Espérance Mukamana, the Director General of Rwanda Land Management and Use Authority. Photo: Courtesy.

She will also shed light on the issues stemming from the concerns raised over people who continue to dispute the master plan; switching land designated for settlement to farming instead.

“As part of the land management mechanisms in place to protect land and generate more taxes, how far has the plan to put in a place a land use master plan gone and how is it being linked to the land licenses,” the letter summoning the Minister reads in part.

Article 30 of the law governing land in Rwanda prohibits the subdivision of plots of land reserved for agriculture and animal resources if the result of such subdivision leads to parcels of land of less than a hectare.

Mujawamariya will also respond to questions regarding what plans the government has in the pipeline to treat rainwater, water from markets that continues to go to waste yet Rwandans continue to struggle with water scarcity.

According to the ministry of Environment, only 14.5 per cent of households in the country have rainwater management systems.

The ministry early this month embarked on a campaign that compels all public, residential, and industrial buildings to harvest and manage rainwater in a bid to curb floods.

On this topic, the Minister is expected to explain the issues surrounding water scarcity and what plan is in place to curb rain water from mountains that continues to destroy government infrastructure and people’s property, particularly in Musanze District.

She will also shed light on the registration and profit making plans in place for land, marshlands and forests owned by the government.

Not the first time

While land registration issues have largely been eliminated, illegal subdivision as well as informal transfer of plots, especially those less than one hectare in size, remain a challenge.

The Director General of Rwanda Land Management and Use Authority, Espérance Mukamana, told The New Times in a recent interview that the issue of high land transfer fees, especially for people who own small plots in rural areas has been raised severally, but reminded that the fee was provided for by the law.

“The law is being revised that might see the fees reduced or increased depending on many factors such as the value of the land, its location among other factors,” she said.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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