Housing Finance Bank, Buganda Land Board sign agreement to support Bibanja owners

Housing Finance Bank has strengthened its partnership with Buganda Land Board, (BLB), with strengthened focus on easing the process for Bibanja/kibanja owners to acquire lease-hold certificates of title. The kingdom, in a bid to speed up the kyapa processing time has launched a campaign called the “Express Plan”. The Express Plan is meant to shorten the processing time from the current 6 months to 1 month.

In 2013, Housing Finance Bank and Buganda Land Board signed the first agreement aimed at providing easy access to financing. This has been identified as a major obstacle for tenants keen on having security of tenure. Over the years, the two parties have participated in various campaigns to increase the number of land lords on the kingdom’s land.

Commenting about the new initiative, Housing Finance Bank Managing Director Mr. Michael K. Mugabi commended the Buganda Land Board for their consistency and innovativeness in addressing the issues relating to titling and development of Bibanja land. “As we renew our partnership, allow me to thank you for thinking about an easy and faster way to support bibanja owners. By shortening the processing time from 6 months to 1 month, several prospective land-owners will now find it easier to secure their tenure with the kingdom.” He said. I would like to pledge our continued support to avail, within the shortest time possible and with absolute dedication, the funding required by Bibanja holders to process these certificates of title. As the leading mortgage lender in the country, we have mastered the art of serving customers in this space, and finding creative solutions to any obstacles they may encounter during the various stages to title acquisition”

Housing Finance Bank also revealed to the Buganda Land Board that the bank had entered into a number of partnerships with different development partners to support the housing sector in Uganda. Of particular interest; in 2020, the Agence Française de Development (AFD) and Housing Finance Bank signed a €10.5 million agreement towards the development of affordable housing in Uganda. The facility allows the bank to fund phased (incremental) development of houses by the low-middle income bracket who currently struggle to access funding for home construction. Several Bibanja owners can now get funding for titling as well as for construction under this Incremental Housing Loan scheme. “Our incremental Housing Loan scheme solution has literally broken the barrier to entry for everyone to affordably build and own a home”, he added.

According to the process flow discussed by the two parties, the kibanja owners simply have to approach Buganda Land Board and open a file, present proof of ownership of the land, and they will be recommended to Housing Finance Bank for a loan that would cover the 100% funding requirement for obtaining a lease hold certificate of title. At Housing Finance Bank, customers submit their application and supporting documentation, agree to the bank’s terms and conditions, sign the mortgage deeds and lease agreement and the loan will be disbursed. This process according to housing finance can be concluded in seven days.

Comments from Buganda Land Board

The Chief Executive Officer of Buganda Land Board, Omuk. Simon Kabogoza applauded Housing Finance Bank for being one of the most committed partner banks under BLB’s signature product called Lease Access Financing Initiative (LAFI).

 “As Buganda kingdom, we believe that the most important document anyone can have on land is a land title. But we also understand that while majority of our people crave land titles, they don’t have the money readily available for title processing. So, we started the LAFI initiative which has so far benefitted more than 2,000 people on Kabaka’s land to get titles through loans from partner institutions. We are proud to say that no client has ever defaulted on their loans,” he said.

Kabogoza further urged tenants on Kabaka’s land to adopt this initiative and acquire land titles given the existing fragility on land ownership in the country.

“This goes to all bibanja holders out there, whether on Kabaka’s land or not, if you can’t afford to get a title, at least register your land interest with your landlord and pay the annual nominal ground rent (Busuulu). It is the only way you can wade off the rampant land grabbers,” he said, at the function held at HFB offices on August 26, 2021.

He said that Buganda kingdom is pro-development and they believe that a person with a land title can progress better than their untitled counterparts given that a title can be used to acquire credit, get a development plan approved and most importantly, it ensures security of tenure.

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