Local Government Minister, Tom Butime.

Government has launched the operationalization of five cities that were recently elevated from municipality status. The cities to be include Arua, Mbarara, Gulu, Fort Portal and Jinja. They assume city status in the fiscal year 2020/2021.

On May 20, 2019, Cabinet approved the phased operationalization of nine cities which will be spread over three financial years, starting 2020/21.

According to minister of local government, Col. (rtd) Tom Butime, government in line with the National Urban Policy will continue to carry out planning and other preparatory activities for the Cities to start on the scheduled dates.

“The Cities will further be facilitated to attract both internal and external funding for garbage management, environment management, infrastructural improvement, ICT Improvement, Tourism and leisure facilities and security, “he said.

The second batch of two cities which include Mbale and Hoima, the Oil city will be operationalized in the financial year 2021/ 2022 and The Third batch of two Cities that include Lira and Entebbe will be operationalized in the F/ Y 2022/2023.

“The over concentration of development in Kampala has exerted pressure on the overall functioning of the City Infrastructure and services resulting into mushrooming of slums with their associated problems.” He said adding that the proposed Cities will reduce pressure on Kampala Capital City by absorbing the demands of the economic actors who would get their needs addressed by the new Cities.

He said the six cities where studies for elevation are underway and scheduled to be concluded by the end of financial year 2019/20 include Moroto Nakasongola, Soroti, Masaka, Kabale and Wakiso.

“They will commence operations in the F/Y 2023/24. Each of the cities will comprise of two city divisions that will be equivalent to municipalities for easy administration and coordination.”

He said Urbanization is the heart of successful economic growth of any country in the world, therefore investment in these regional and strategic Cities will play a distinctive role in Uganda’s drive for equitable socio-economic development, transformation and poverty reduction.

Butime, said Uganda’s urban areas have already become the engine of the Country’s development contributing 70 per cent of the National GDP. There is no doubt that the future of Uganda’s growth will continue to lie in new cities which will be strategic and Regional.