The ARB Board recently had a fruitful annual retreat in Kampala. The two day retreat was highlighted by the attendance of the State Minister for Housing Hon. Baryomusi Chris (Kinkizi East), who was the Guest of Honor, for some open and wide ranging discussions about the state of Housing in Uganda, the place of the architectural profession and how government can help support the Board’s activities in its mandate to regulate and improve the architectural profession in Uganda.
Minister’s Address to the Board
The Minister noted that the need for housing consequently increases demand for architects considering Uganda’s fast growing population (fastest in the world).
As per the statistics, Uganda is lagging behind on adequate housing, currently there’s a 1.2 million housing deficit. Specific intervention is required.
He expressed his dismay that the profession of architecture seems to be neglected yet there’s a lot of work to be done.
ARB was previously under the Ministry of Works and Transport. However due to restructuring there was more confusion created as the Chief Government Engineer was left in Works Ministry while the Chief Government Architect was moved to the Ministry of Lands. This made it difficult to coordinate activities in the construction industry.
There’s been a missing link between the Board and the Ministry to help channel support, especially financial, but it can be bridged since currently all Ministries are in the early stages of budget preparation.
Currently Ministry of Lands is engaging Ministry of Finance to have discussions on how to increase housing.
He proffered that the Board joins the Ministry and highlight key areas that need funding. He reiterated government’s - and specifically his Ministry’s - commitment to support the Board so that it can better discharge is duties. He consequently bemoaned the embarrassingly limited financial and logistical support the Ministry has previously been extending towards the Board.
The Ministry of Lands is developing a National Physical Plan. More services for architects will be required.
Hon. Baryomusi was taken aback the delay in gazetting ARB bye-laws.
As a way forward to involve the board more and create linkages at the Ministry, he suggested that the ARB registrar be invited to attend some Ministry meetings. He noted that there has been poor engagement between the Board and the Directorate of Housing.
The Chairman ARB, Arch. Kiggundu Robert interjected and informed the Minister that the previous Minister of Lands, Hon. Migereko Daudi, gave similar promises but with no written commitment on record, it became difficult to follow up especially after he left the Ministry. The chairman requested the Minister to make a written commitment on the matter.
The Minister urged ARB staff and Board members to be proactive like politicians to be visible and noticeable to the public.
Cleaning up: ARB and the Uganda Police Force carried out a joint operation in several parts of Kampala to crackdown on illegal practitioners of architecture.