Experts have urged the government to focus on supporting newly created cities to ensure their self-sustainability and independence.
The views were expressed during e-dialogue on cities and socio-economic transformation under the theme “The role of cities in the social-economic development of Uganda”.
The discussions featured on NBS TV on Saturday.
The minister of Local Government, Raphael Magyezi, highlighted the need for the newly created cities to deliver services to the expectations of the people.
“It’s not business as usual. We are going to emphasize physical planning. This is going to be our priority undertaking in these new cities. Business people prefer investing in a well developed urban area,” he said.
Magyezi said the creation of cities is important in the development of a nation noting there is a commitment to creating well-planned cities in the country.
“We are starting with seven. Next year we will add three and the last batch of four will come in the year after. For the first time after many years after Kampala was created, we are getting new cities. The structure of leadership is already there. 15 cities are not too many. We need to develop regional cities. All regions should have a regional center,” he said.
The state minister for Urban Development, Isaac Musumba, said the government is targeting urbanization as an instrument of managing society.
He said in every city, 15% of the land will be made available and preserved for industrial parks because cities are the source of jobs for the people who will be living in those towns.
“We need to plan now to avoid unplanned settlements which will make Uganda a huge slum. Towns are engines of economic growth. The government deliberately created 15 new cities to foster development. We need to plan for the proper development of these cities accordingly,” he said.
Musumba said that the government will ensure improvement in service delivery like water, electricity, and education for the people in those new cities.
“We shall also ensure that the areas of settlement can accommodate more people, we will encourage storied houses. We want to de-escalate the problems Kampala has faced,” he said.
The executive director of the National Planning Authority, Dr. Joseph Muvawala, said the creation of these cities should be purposely to promote development.
“Guidelines that the ministries are developing are going to be critical in ensuring that we achieve the sustainability of these cities. If the fundamental is that we are going to concentrate on physical planning and walk the talk these cities will be sustainable,” he said.