President Yoweri Museveni has congratulated the people of Jinja, Arua, Gulu, Masaka, FortPortal, Mbarara and Mbale, whose towns today became cities effective today.
Museveni also guided that it’s upon the leaders and residents in the seven regions to ensure effective running of their cities.
Seven municipalities including Arua, Jinja, Mbarara, Masaka, Fortportal, Mbale and Gulu were recently elevated by Parliament to attain city status starting today, July 1, 2020 as one of the initiatives to accelerate urbanisation through attracting direct investment and international support for infrastructure.
“This is an acknowledgement of the growth these towns have experienced but importantly a move to ensure more services are brought closer to the people,” he said, adding,” My guidance is that the political and technical leaders must work in harmony to ensure the cities are run efficiently. I also urge the wanainchi to be involved in the running of these cities, especially through oversight” Museveni tweeted.
Excitement was in the air across the regions as leaders and residents in the new cities spent a good part of today celebrating the advent of a new dispensation with high expectations for better services.
Away from the excitement and celebrations, the operationalisation of the new cities remain an issue of speculation as no clear budgetary allocation has been set aside to kick-start the city operations.
The cities are contemplating using the limited 2020/2021 budgets initially passed for municipalities recently as provisional funds to run their operations.
However, the Minister for Local Government, Mr Raphael Magyezi, yesterday said the seven new cities will be given Shs1.5b each in addition to the funds already catered for in the recently passed budgets for them under municipalities to fully operationalise.
After the operationalisation of the initial seven cities, the second cluster that includes Hoima, Lira and Soroti will take effect on July 1, 2021, while the third cluster that includes Entebbe City will take effect on July 1, 2022.
The last group which includes Wakiso, Moroto, Nakasongola and Kabale cities are expected to take effect on July 1, 2023.