The State Minister for Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Hon.Obiga Kania, has called for proper physical planning as Kampala joins other cities in the world to commemorate the World Cities Day, on October 31.
Obiga Kania who was the chief celebrant made the call on Friday, while launching events to mark the day, at Sheraton Hotel.
The day will be marked on Sunday under the theme, “Better City, Better Life”.
Speaking to the media, minister Kania highlighted that Uganda is experiencing a rapid increase in population something he says, has come with challenges especially in infrastructure, health, power and environment.
Kania said proper physical planning is thus extremely important so that these challenges can be alleviated in order to accommodate the increasing number of people in the urban areas.
“The reason is our population is increasing and more people are coming to urban centres. Coming to urban centres is good, it releases land for other activities for industrial and agricultural but at the same time it also creates challenges in the urban areas where we need planning,” Kania said.
The minister further pointed out that as the ministry, they have planned, but still face a challenge of inadequate financing. He says local generation of revenue is not enough and asked for more funding.
“We need support from elsewhere from central government, development partners. The good thing is we’ve learned lessons from other cities of the world and also from our own cities particularly Kampala which have developed to this extent. We know some of the challenges which they face and we think if we don’t plan, some of those challenges will come with the same. This is the responsibility that we have and we think we should be able to achieve,” he said.
The minister also warned investors against investing in risk-prone areas like wetlands which he said are prone to environmental disasters.
“For example, you may invest in a wetland but with climatic change, this wetland at one time can flood. You should not invest in areas which are prone to earth movements. You’ve heard of these earth movements which have caused problems in Elgon region,” Kania said.
He advised city authorities to come together with investors and identify safe areas for investment.
“And the new cities now, have the opportunity to start afresh because for them, the haven’t reached that stage. They can allocate, plan those cities very well and say this area will be industrial and will be having power, roads and other services in that area properly and incase of any risk, those risks can be addressed communally and easier,”
The United Nations General Assembly designated October 31, as a World Cities Day, by its resolution 68/239.
The day is expected to greatly promote the international community’s interest in global urbanization, push forward cooperation among countries in meeting opportunities addressing challenges of urbanization and contributing to sustainable urban development around the world.