March 20, 2004

Parliament passes bill on territory and urban regulation

Angola's National Assembly has passed into law the Bill on Territory and Urban regulation following a heated discussion marked by contrasting positions with opposition UNITA party deputies pushing for a later approval. UNITA's parliament bench, as well as PLD's deputy, Marta Cristina, defended the approval of the diploma simultaneously with the Land Bill, in view of the connections between the two drafts. Ruling MPLA party argued otherwise.

MPLA parliamentary whip, Bornito de Sousa, explained that despite having political implications, the Bill was fundamentally techno-juridical and its approval would not affect the regulation of others put forward by UNITA colleagues. "There is an inter-connection with other matters, but this diploma has a very concrete ambit, as it sets a framework that will permit to deal with the concerns presented through the regulation", he stressed. However, despite this argument and explanations from the minister of Urbanisation and Environment, Virgílio Fontes Pereira, only two UNITA deputies voted in favour. All the rest abstained. Thus the document was passed on 84 votes in favour, one against and 40 abstentions.

The Bill now passed contains 72 articles divided into five chapters and, according to the State and Local Power Commission of the National Assembly, the document harmonises the policies on construction, environment, urbanisation, economics, agrarian development and that on territory regulation and land aspects. According to the National Assembly's State and Local Power Commission, the law is meant to curb the normative dispersion by creating a national integrated system of regulation of the territory and of the urban development under a global and sustained programme of actions aimed a better distribution of geographic spaces. This should take into account the public needs and those of the population, the living standard, the natural resources available and preservation of environment. It adds that the regulation of the Territory has never been subject to a global normative framing, having the country gone through various dispersed diplomas on several specific or partial matters backdating to the colonial era. Under the current context, these matters are outdated in the face of the expansion of the cities after Angola's independence, resulting from both cities attraction phenomena and rural exodus and war pressure, the Fourth Commission says. (Angola Press Agency, Luanda)

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