About 80 percent of the commercial buildings in Kampala do not have occupation licenses, Kampala City Council has said.
Simon Muhumuza, Public Relations Officer of Kampala City Council, says the owners of the buildings have never obtained occupation permits from the city authorities. He said the operation of the buildings without an occupation permit flaunts the Public Health Act and is illegal.
An occupation permit is a legal document which certifies that a building has been constructed in accordance with approved plans and is fit for occupation. In case of a lease hold, the occupation permit enables the developer to get full term lease over the land leased to him. The permit also opens opportunities for a building owner to obtain a mortgage and insurance.
The district health officer is required to visit the buildings to ensure that they fulfill public health requirements such as having adequate ventilation and sanitation. The Chief Town Planner also approves the plans, looking out for accessibility, density of buildings, user activity and plot coverage.
Muhumuza says many developers have refused to follow the laid down procedure, complaining of the amount of red tape involved. He says that as a result many of the buildings have architectural faults and lack basic equipment like fire extinguishers and fire alarms.
Muhumuza says KCC also faces a challenge with following up buildings that are renovated and changed architecturally. He the unlicensed structures are putting the hundreds of Ugandans at risk.