Thousands Apply for Plots in Planned Okuti Border Market

4162 Views Kitgum, Uganda

In short
Thousands of people have applied for plots in the planned international border market in Okuti parish, Orom Sub- County in Kitgum district. Records at the district land office indicate that at least 60,000 people have applied for plots in the surrounding area, leaving only 40,000 slots to be applied for.

Thousands of people have applied for plots in the planned international border market in Okuti parish, Orom Sub- County in Kitgum district.
  
Records at the district land office indicate that at least 60,000 people have applied for plots in the surrounding area, leaving only 40,000 slots to be applied for.
  
The district has acquired a land title for 109.005 hectares of land at the Uganda border with South Sudan, for the construction of an international border market by the Ministry of Trade and Cooperatives.
  
The district has planned the surrounding area outside the market for the establishment of business structures and residential structures among others.
  
Matthew Otto, the District Lands Officer Kitgum, says much as priority will be given to the indigenous Acholi, development and much needed reconciliation cannot be done in isolation. The plots will be leased out for 49 years to the developers at 4 million shillings each, with no timelines for developing the area acquired.
  
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Okuti, though not one of the 18 border points in Uganda, forms part of the six markets identified by government to be turned into international border markets. The others are Mutukula in Rakai district, Bwera in Kasese, Elegu in Amuru, Katuna in kabale and Malaba in Busia district.
  
The market will defy the disadvantage of Uganda being landlocked and open its borders to the greater horn of Africa, serving at least eight countries of Sudan, South Sudan,  Eritrea, Somalia, Central African Republic and Ethiopia which is a three-hour road drive away from the border.
  
The area has a high potential for tourism with the Alipan hunting ground West of the planned market and Kidepo National Game Park to the East. The 180 square kilometres has been planned to include commercial, residential and institutional plots.
  
The district estimates that if all the plots are acquired, it will raise revenue worth 52 billion shillings from lease titles alone and subject to property tax, much more in subsequent years.
 
Thomson Obong, Kitgum district deputy Chief Administrative Officer, says pending the official launch of the project, the district is to put in place the necessary infrastructure and social amenities.
  
'Currently, there are no roads, piped water, schools and health centers in the Okuti area. For people to feel comfortable there, the district will have to put these social services in place so as to attract meaningful investment in the area,' he notes.

 
Guston Odongkara, the district vice chairperson notes that the project has delayed due to the reluctance of the previous council to follow it up, because it should have already been rolling.
  
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The community of Okuti has now formed a management committee to ensure that they get the first-hand benefits of their land being leased out.

 

About the author

Annet Lekuru
Annet Lekuru is the Uganda Radio Network bureau chief for Arua. She is new in this post, assigned August 2016. However, she is no stranger to URN subcribers and readers.

Lekuru started her journalism career in 2011 with training from Radio Paris where she worked until April 2015. She started writing for URN in May 2015 as a freelance reporter.

Lekuru loves and continues to admire URN because of the reporter privilege to identify and report on issues close to one's heart which offers an opportunity to the reporter to develop a passion in a beat and report on it exhaustively.

With a background training in Conflict Sensitive Journalism she hopes to graduate into doing remarkable and recognised human rights and human interest stories in the near future.

She is interested in reporting on issues of justice, law, human rights and health.