By Our Reporter, Kiruhura
The proposed construction of a National Science, Technology Engineering and Innovation Centre (NSTEIC) in Rwebitete Kiruhura district has hit a standstill after the members of the Science Technology and Innovation Committee of Parliament led by the chairman Hon. Fred Kyakulaga Bwino found out that the 45 acre piece of land on which the centre is supposed to be built does not have a title of ownership.
This was during an oversight visit to the said piece of land last Friday by the Mps who ordered that no further development should be done on the land, until when Uganda National Council for Science and Technology under the guidance of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation acquires a land title showing ownership. “The Ministry of Finance directed the project not to start any activity or spend any government money on the piece of land that was donated for the project before the ownership of that land is transferred to Uganda National Council for Science and Technology (UNCST). We have found that the project contravened that directive and started grading and leveling the land before getting the title of ownership. So our Committee has directed that those activities on that piece of land whose ownership is not yet transferred to the project to be halted until 2nd November 2020 when the project leadership (UNCST) brings a title of ownership before the committee, and once they do so, we shall allow them to resume those activities.
According to Anthony Okimat, the Project Coordinator, the land was donated to government by a Malaysian national called Elaine Kieu this year who bought it on leasehold. He further said that they applied for the transfer of title for the land in August with Uganda Land Board, and they will have it today (Tuesday) and they will present to the committee on 2nd November as instructed.
On the 16 acre land that is being claimed by a one Jovia Rwabatongo, Okimat said that she is doesn’t have a title for the land, but the president requested her to donate it for the project and she was to be compensated in the near future.
The project will start in January 2021 and is expected to be completed in January 2023, through a loan of USD30M from EXIM Bank of china.
The centre once complete will be used to enhance skills development and promote STEI enterprise development among graduates, craftsmen, technicians, engineers as well as other scientists and innovators among others.